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Behind Creative Collision




Walking down Lorne Street today, the Gow Langsford Gallery drew me in. Paintings by Pacific artist John Pule hung on the walls, a collection of unbound canvas and spilt colours. He is one of my favourite artists of Islander culture, especially his work that was shown at the Auckland Art Gallery a few months ago.

Inside one of the pieces caught my eye. 'Sun' was just as its namesake, vibrant and affecting. Painted on a large square of canvas, edges raw and curling, the piece glowed with symbols and patterns of significance (an Aztec influence?). When standing in front of the painting, it fills your field of vision with colour like a Rothko colour field painting and I could feel the bright yellow pulsating with my heartbeat.

So I started a short wander around the Art Precinct of Auckland (note my previous post Precinct from almost a year ago). I visited the OREXART Gallery at the top of Khartoum Place, actually one of my favourite, hidden spots for seeing quality art. This time it did not disappoint - I was greeted with a collection of Emily Karaka paintings and a range of contemporary Pacific art to my liking. It must be Pacific themed art month or something.

Irami Buli's large painting was a pleasure to read. Amongst Pollock style bands of chaos, anthropomorphic and ambiguous scenes are both perplexing and give an edge of the freaky. The other thing that is striking is the all seeing eye which feels Egyptian in lineage.

Heading toward the new Auckland Art Gallery, the installation in the mirrored pool outside has changed to yet another gesture to the Pacific. Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi's 'Aotea (Long White Cloud)', a stainless steel, three dimensional piece, sits aptly on the water's surface. The effect is amplified by its reflection and beckons to New Zealand's Maori name - Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud.

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