Everyone Talks to Everyone

Author: Rachel Healy, Communications Manager
Handcrafted Conversations at The Dowse – New exhibition in the Blumhardt Gallery opens 16 February
Alvie McKree, The (F)utility of Belief and (Re)housing of Ideology (detail), 2011

Alvie McKree, The (F)utility of Belief and (Re)housing of Ideology (detail), 2011

Ten artists, 12 artworks, a blend of decorative and contemporary works, a fusion of cultures and perspectives – everyone is talking to everyone at The Dowse in February with the debut exhibition of 2012 Blumhardt Curatorial Intern, Ane Tonga. In the upstairs Blumhardt Gallery, Tonga mixes it up, juxtaposing new technologies with contemporary objects to show that 'handcrafted' can apply to both digital and traditional artworks. Everyone Talks To Everyone features the work of both emerging and established artists, many with roots in Asia and Polynesia. The exhibition places contrasting artworks alongside one another, asking how, in the digital age, they relate to each other. So often loaded with memory and stories, how do we interpret these objects?

A lamp by Sean Kerr may appear every-day but is actually belting out Madonna's Material Girl, while Vaimaila Urale and Johann Nortje's large digital work, Typeface, uses stunning interactive technology with basic keyboard characters to create contemporary Pacific markings. Kerr's playful artworks will be familiar to Dowse audiences from his 2011 show here. In Everyone Talks To Everyone, his work is grouped with two others, Michael Parekowhai's Armentieres and Niki Hastings-McFall's Dad's Chair, in a conversation about the commemorative and decorative nature of synthetic flowers.

Fiona Pardington is one of New Zealand's most highly regarded photographers, well-known for her representations of the body. Her photograph of a Samoan bust, created by French phrenologist Pierre-Marie Dumoutier in the early 19th century, is juxtaposed with an actual bust, a contemporary work by Sofia Tekela-Smith. Both works show different approaches to representations of the body – the image and object speak of identity and tapu. Also interested in cultural concerns of the body is Selina Woulfe, a jeweller whose Silvergraft series is inspired by ritualistic Pacific traditions. Photographs of the works show them literally 'embodied' by the artist; pierced into her skin.

Drawing on her interest in museology and ethnographic practices, recent Elam graduate Alvie McKree creates 'a room with in a room' with a selection of reconfigured collected items and fragmented objects while Korean-born Suji Park's clay sculptures fit neither the label of traditional ceramics nor contemporary practice but have her own intuitive force behind their creation.

Auckland's Ane Tonga is the fifth recipient of the Blumhardt Foundation's Curatorial Internship funded by Creative NZ. A legacy of New Zealand potter Dame Doreen Blumhardt's commitment to arts education, the internship provides a rare opportunity for an aspiring curator to develop their skills alongside professional museum staff, in a contemporary gallery setting. Ane has been working under the mentorship of Dowse Senior Curator, Emma Bugden.

Everyone Talks To Everyone
16 February – 9 June 2013
The Dowse Art Museum | FREE ENTRY

Media enquiries and images:
Rachel Healy,
T 0274 610271 | 04 560 1477