Ellwood, Ford, McLaren

4th Jul –
27th Jul 2024

Thursday, 4 July, 5.30-7.30pm,

Matt Ellwood (image), James R. Ford and Cameron James McLaren will each present new work in an exhibition bringing together three artists whose works  – although stylistically diverse – all questions and explores the act itself of making.

Matt Ellwood’s new work brings together two contrasting approaches to drawing. His ongoing series of realist charcoal works replicate and juxtapose imagery gleaned from the advertising sections in high-profile international art magazines, and these are brought into conversation with a series of new sculptures designed to aid the production of blind contour drawings. Seen together, the installation explores contrasting constraints on the act of drawing while implicating the larger mechanisms that shape the art world. 

Each of James R. Ford’s new “Finitude Drawings” is a series of lines and marks created by an outdated, robotic vacuum cleaner.  The robot has been hijacked, modified, and made to perform a task not fit for its intended purpose. The works are born from the idea of human finitude; our limits of time, space and ability. And how, throughout life, we metaphorically hit brick walls, back track, meander, and sometimes move in circles trying to figure things out. The naming convention of the series utilises gene symbols, and the genes referenced are all related to ageing, which in itself is a symbol for the natural finitude of human life.  “Ford has altered the appliance and made it perform a task not fit for its intended purpose.  In this sense, the object that creates these works is like a modified readymade....the robot vacuum could be considered captured, imprisoned and forced to do a dance of its own....The marks, tracks and smudges have a physicality and tactile grunginess that provides a break from the recent proliferation of digitally manufactured art” (Sinny Bonlaire, 2023)

Cameron James McLaren looks at the role of media and photography in his Fourth Estate series.  Imagery is sourced directly from newspapers – documentary photography of the issues of our times.  In the artist’s hands it is blown up, distorted and reproduced on newsprint. The results are abstractions that form a physical and literal conversation between the overlap of editorial photography and advertising in the daily newspaper, i.e. The New Zealand Herald.  The works interact with each other through colour, shape and materiality connecting the work to our contemporary social and geopolitical landscape. The images represent themes of climate, health, politics, protest, and war. They are hung with handmade steel frames, reminiscent of the shopfront newspaper stand from our past. The frame's materiality represents a sense of time and memory but also acts as a physical barrier between the viewer and the photographs (information). “The newspaper's content and political nature alongside its specific materiality is critical in my exploration of what is a global crisis in information and influence. The process of rephotographing newspaper illustrations allows the work to move away from a singular artistic expression to a more all-encompassing social view through its connection to the public document.”


  1. Feb. 2024. Matt Ellwood | PROTOTYPES FOR BLIND CONTOUR DRAWING APPARATUS | Te Wai Ngutu Kākā Gallery