Kelcy Taratoa

A Delicate Balance of Grey

9th Feb –
5th Mar 2022

Wednesday 23 February, 6pm
Instagram Live

Kelcy Taratoa is interested in liminal space, the transitional threshold between spaces. In his art he refers to liminal as ‘The Grey Space’. Recently he has delved into philosophical concepts of space as defined in te ao Māori. An example is ‘Te kore-te wiwia- a space without boundaries’a commission for the atrium walls at Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga 2019-20, which saw him paint out these huge walls in his brightly coloured geometric abstractions.

Te ao Māori positions humanity in a delicate balance between spiral-bound complementaries. The Māori world operates on a complex layering of binaries – a dipolar cosmos, where opposites establish an equilibrium, or a grey area. Taratoa’s art can be seen to be exploring this delicate balancing through the arrangement of colour, shape form and in some cases pattern.

Drawing from customay artforms such as tukutuku and tāniko, Taratoa’s techno-coloured, hyper-exposed paintings explore the structural elements and conceptual layers of meaning within these artforms, reconfiguring them to examine cultural meaning, significance and relevance today.

Taratoa plays with colour, shape, form, and pattern to investigate how they translate across cultural divides. He paints to work with both global and world philosophies to create broad-ranging conversations which have their genesis in customary Maori abstraction, to mid-century geometric abstraction and to 21st century digital codes and the ideas that symbols and patterns embody.

Conceptual ambiguity is juxta-positioned with the material ambiguity of the paintings, which characteristically display super-flat, vividly-coloured and hard-edged surfaces belying the presence of the brush and hand of the artist. This establishes continuity with artworks spanning over 2 decades.

A new publication "Kelcy Taratoa: Who Am I? Episode 001" published by the Tauranga Art Gallery in assciation with Quentin Wilson Publishing, is available from the gallery for $60 cash and carry.


  1. Jan. 2022. Studio Visit: Kelcy Taratoa