08 Sep 2018 – 06 Jan 2019
Pocket Histories considers the sampling of modernism with abstracted embroidery by Vita Cochran; painting by Imogen Taylor and ceramics by Isobel Thom
Modernism can be understood as a path away from representation. It can also be defined as a deliberate break with the past in order to make way for new ideas and break with entrenched hierarchies. The modernist then had one eye trained on the past as they articulated a utopian vision of the future. But, if the past was evoked throughout primarily to reject it, what does it mean when artists are quoting modernism now?
In Pocket Histories, modernism might be understood as a series of compositional opportunities. Together, the artists show a clear interest in formal geometric play through the push and pull of volume, shape, curves and colour. Spanning the applied and fine arts, there is also a clear desire by the artists to re-evaluate our understandings of ‘high’ or ‘good’ art, as well as its proper place. Fittingly, the legacy of modernism is often recalled alongside other references — regionalism, craft histories, permaculture — to wilfully ignore artistic boundaries. These artists neither reject modernisms' forms and ideals, nor are they fully beholden to them. Instead, their works suggest that modernism can be mined, combined, and deployed to fuel a fervent engagement in each artist’s practice.
Pocket Histories is a collaboration between curator Ioana Gordon-Smith and artist Imogen Taylor as the latter’s McCahon House post-residency exhibition. It has been developed and toured by Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery and is supported by McCahon House Trust, Dulux and Sue Hillery.
Imogen Taylor on Pocket Histories
Saturday 8 Sep, 2.00pm
Join artist Imogen Taylor on a tour of Pocket Histories, who will reflect on her collaboration with curator Ioana Gordon-Smith to develop this exhibition. Pocket Histories explores Taylor's relationship with modernism through her painting, alongside the ceramics of Isobel Thom and the embroidery of Vita Cochran.
Ioana Gordon-Smith: Pocket Histories
Saturday 13 Oct, 11.00pm
Join Te Uru curator Ioana Gordon-Smith to hear about her collaboration with artist Imogen Taylor to develop Pocket Histories, which explores three contemporary artists' relationships with modernism.