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A selection of recent work by artists Sandra Bushby, Tessa Laird and Rozana Lee highlighting new projects and directions in their practices.
Rozana Lee is an artist based in Auckland, of Indonesian-Chinese heritage. She holds an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts. Her practice explores the way global histories and cultural identities are woven into textile aesthetics, production and trade. Her chosen method of drawing using a Tjanting, traditional pen-like tool for applying hot wax onto the fabric speaks about her Indonesian cultural heritage. Recent exhibitions/projects include Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania, Christchurch Art Gallery (2020-2022), Project 2020: Space as Substance, Auckland Art Fair (2020), Future Flowering, Play_Station (2020), Reconfigure(d), Guangzhou, China (2019), and Two Oceans at Once, St Paul St Gallery (2019). Lee is a finalist in a number of New Zealand art awards: The Wallace Art Awards (2019, 2018), Parkin Drawing Prize (2019, 2016), Walker & Hall Waiheke Art Awards (2017, 2016), and Molly Morpeth Canaday Award (2017, 2015). She was the joint winner of People Choice Award for Estuary Art and Ecology Prize 2018 and in second place for Henrietta & Lola Anne Tunbridge Water Colour Scholarship Award 2018. Lee attended two artist residencies in Asia: Instinc Singapore (March, 2016) and Making Space, Guangzhou, China (May, 2019).
“I made colourful Batik fabrics to form installation work. This gives me the freedom to hang the fabrics from the ceiling, draped across free-standing frames, hang them like paintings on the wall or spread out on the floor. I am interested in these constant shifts in perspective, mobility and adaptability. My chosen method of drawing using a Tjanting, traditional pen-like tool for applying hot wax onto the fabric speaks about my Indonesian cultural background. My process, however, has been altered to suits my exploration. I incorporate various painting technique and I mix multiple cultural references or aesthetics sensibilities. In the past, ornamental patterns described a tribe to itself or to other tribes. They now tell a story of my navigations across and between cultures. Each repetition of the pattern contains small differences and displacements. By leaving the wax on the fabrics, rather than boiling it off after they had been dyed or painted one colour at the time depending on the design, I am fabricating a language of incompleteness. This incompleteness and ambiguity in the process points to a temporality of the ‘in-between’. This in-between condition allows “newness" to come into the world.”
Sandra Bushby is currently a Doc FA candidate at Elam School of Fine Art, Auckland University. Her thesis title: ‘burrowing out’ is from thoughts of painting as a space for reflection, for turning things over with consideration for opening up strange clouds of feeling within the presuming. The paintings emerge from the tension between intervals and unfolding pictorial space in this way every interaction of the picture surface is active. Reading poetry and referencing poems’ visual structures and forms while thinking about the phenomenological ways of listening to the world and recognising the world as always retaining initiative is at the core of this painting practice.
‘Sandra works as if painting is a special way of marking time; of letting time take incremental and intermittent form; of letting time show itself through its crumbled edges and atmospheric patching; of showing the inadvertency of painting’s time’ . (Allan Smith)
Sandra Bushby has recently shown her work at: Sumer Gallery, Window, Two Rooms Gallery, George Fraser Gallery, Elam Project Space and her work is held at the Te Papa and Auckland Museum collections. She exhibited recent work in our 2019 group exhibition “Ice Cream Salad” curated by Kirstin Carlin.
New ceramic offerings from Tessa Laird’s “Tentacular Reading" series feature a cast of cephalopods (octopuses and cuttlefish) getting their tentacles into some heavy reading. Made while on residency at 85 Glasgow Street in Whanganui, these absurd tableaus depict these incredible alien intelligences via wilfully goofy anthropomorphism. Rather than attempt scientific veracity, this celebration of the cephalopod takes its cues from cartoons and the blurry line between animation and animism. Tessa Laird is a New Zealand artist, writer and academic who lectures in Critical and Theoretical Studies at the School of Art, University of Melbourne where she is currently based.
Image: Sandra Bushby