Three shows well worth checking out on the dealer gallery circuit at the moment:
Yvonne Todd@ Peter McLeavey
I've always been hauntingly attracted to the clinical cool and hinted alternate lives of Yvonne Todd's photographed subjects. The subjects of her flawlessly photographed and printed portraits are flawlessly composed and made up, yet each minutely flawed. Whether it be fading love bite hidden under an inch of makeup or a pregnant stomach undermining an austere almost bretheran outfit, the subtext of each work has me hooked to her work.
The current show at Peter McLeaveys reinserts that hook. The series of 8 or so works, ranging in size, subject, and price, features a handful of equally powerful - though in some cases a little too staged - portraits, multi-elemented still lifes, and even a landscape.
Great stuff, and at a surprisingly good price. And again flawlessly delivered. Go and buy one now.
Gregory O'Brien @ Bowen Galleries
A wise man I know once said "there is education in observation" and it's kind of stuck. Gregory O'Brien's exhibition in the redeveloped Bowen Galleries is a good example - engrossing and ultimately educating the viewer through O'Briens many observations.
Essentially transcribed and simply illustrated poems and observations, the works are easily accessible, as evidenced by the number of people in the gallery. They draw on a simple palette, and are cleanly and minimally executed, drawing the viewer along a path defined by the writted word and littered with observations.
The works tell stories, sing songs, and ultimately generate new thoughts. What more could you ask for?
J.S. Parker @ Tinakori Gallery
There's a great argument around the death of painting, the future of 'new media', and the credibility of photography. McCahon stated you can't kill something that doesn't live, and Charles Saatchi has done a lot to keep the pulse of painting ticking over in global contemporary practice.
So at a time where our art schools are jettisoning painting tutors and teachers and national awards are shying away from painting, it's great to see a good - some would say old fashioned - painting show. And that's exactly the breath of fresh air delivered by JS Parker at Tinakori Gallery.
From the moment you step into the gallery you subscribe to the white box theory. The works are well spaced, with plenty of room to move between them. A a wholistic space it just feels good. And then you get close to the works themselves. Paint so thick you want to lick the knife. Application so consistent and precise it belies the artist's hand that is so clearly at cause. And the smell - that rich intoxicating aroma of fresh oil paint. It reignites a familiar space through asaulting all the senses. Like fresh ground coffee this smell completes an internal monologue that can only brighten a day.