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Monday, May 28, 2012

Faerie Tales exhibition in Auckland opens June 5th 6pm

I'm very excited about my curatorial debut for the group exhibition "Faerie Tales".  It opens Tuesday 5th June at Snakepit Gallery 33 High Street in Auckland CBD. It's part of the Auckland Festival of Photography.  If you are in Auckland that night, you're very welcome to come along or it runs through until June 18th.

I have selected 7 visual artists who address queer narratives in their work in innovative ways.  My interactive photographic installation and video work with composer Charlotte Rose sits alongside two photographic series by Katy Jo Carter and Melanie Church, paintings by Kestin Stewart and Eli Orzessek and comic art by Sam Orchard.

The opening night will go out with a BANG from the tantalising line up of performances that extend the themes of the exhibition from 9-9.30pm.

Here is an extract from the essay "The Spark, the Fire, and the Dark" by Joe Madonald.

Faerie Tales, as an eclectic whole, shifts the focus from singular identities to relationships and connections between embodied beings. Rather than portraying an assortment of queer identities, these collected works express an emerging fascination with bodies, narratives, intimacy, power, and relationships.

 Ranging from archival photography to contemporary water-colour, from multi-media installation to comic artistry, the artists present an array of images and sound that explores the relationship between self and other, knowing and un-knowing, intimacy and identity, and insists that the viewer reflect on their own investments in gender and sexuality.

 Desire and pleasure are present, but not easily consumed: the viewer is unsettled and yet simultaneously invited to savour the experience. Bodily morphology is not mapped neatly onto gender and sexuality. Emphasizing the interweaving of physical, energetic, emotional, and spiritual embodiment, bodies and intimacies are exposed as transcendent and primal, intimate yet public.

 In Faerie Tales, time is variable, shifting, and storylines are interrupted. Still, there are threads of connection and continuity: these works are located here, in Aotearoa, and they explore embodied experiences, narratives, and identities through a lens of intimacy, flesh, and a queer kind of un-knowing. The viewer is privy to the making and un-making of moments, the spark, the fire, and the dark.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Voices for New Territories

I've been reflecting on 2011 and recall I was advised that it would be a year of voices for me and that I have so much more to say.

At the time I didn't really understand what that meant, but it makes sense to me now. I'm expanding into new territories, geographically, technically and conceptually, all which require different ways of communicating. I'm discovering voices appropriate to those new territories.

Geographical Expansion
Five countries have had exhibitions of my work this year. This wouldn't have happened without the commitment and vision of Mark Hutchins, John Turner, Nancy Moore, Crea and Ekrea.
Assume Nothing was a solo show in Spain and part of group shows in Nepal and America. Dying to Know was in a group show at the Ping Yao International Photography Festival in China. In New Zealand my new work SWEAT showed at Mark Hutchins Gallery. This included an interactive photographic installation Personal Taste and a collaborative video work Falling with sound artist Charlotte Rose.

This year Kirsty MacDonald's film Assume Nothing about my work has been screened in America, Canada, Germany, Spain, England, Australia and New Zealand. It now has no geographical boundaries as it's available as an online download at and currently is their film of the week.

Technological Expansion
Creating video installation work has definitely required a new voice, in fact a whole new language. It's been exciting and nerve wracking in equal measure and I haven't felt that technically vulnerable for a long time. At times the gap between my vision and my abilities seemed too large to navigate. However being part of Sense Collective meant I had a huge pool of talent and expertise to draw from the crew; Charlotte Rose, Kirsty MacDonald, Richard Swan and Matt Gillanders. We couldn't have done it without the generous support of Jack Byrne (dramaturg), Liz Ellis (compositor), Max Robinson (data wrangler), Mike Hodgson (AV mentor), Sue Uden and Richard Wemyss (assistants), Unitec (studio access) and Kingsize Studios (equipment supply).

Sense Collective is presenting our inaugural video installation MOVE at SPLORE music and arts festival February 17-19th 2012. The production stills above were taken by Richard Wemyss.

Conceptual Expansion
Here is where my vulnerability ramps up further. I remember starting art school aged 17 asking myself what do I have to say that's of any value? Life answered that for me and over the 23 years since graduating, my art has drawn on my life experiences, illness, sexual orientation and gender identity. In the background of all those experiences my primary inspiration has been my spirituality but my voice around that has been somewhat muffled as I perceived contemporary art and spirituality to be uncomfortable allies. However it is currently the answer to the question I asked myself as a 17 year old.

So my conceptual expansion means opening up to my spirituality as subject, methodology and outcome. I'm not sure exactly how that's going to look but I'm fully committed to, and excited by, the creative process- which for me is inherently a spiritual process.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Work in China, Germany, Australia and New Zealand


JBT©20110920-088 Pingyao International Photography Festival
JBT©20110919-203_Pingyao Int Photo Festival - hotel plus
JBT©20110918-111_Pingyao Int Photo Festival - preparations

My work Dying to Know has just been in a group exhibition Moments and Eternity- a New Zealand View in China at Ping Yao International Photo Festival. It was curated by John Turner bringing together six New Zealand photographers. I was in the good company of Geoffrey H. Short, Wayne Wilson Wong, Jan Young, Robyn Hoonhout, and Peter Evans. There were 1000's of visitors to the exhibition and John explained about 15% of visitors had a really good look at the work. Thanks to John for the images.

Profiles "Personal Taste" 2011

Joanne Drayton's mid career review of my work is due to come out the in the next Art New Zealand issue.

Kirsty MacDonalds film Assume Nothing which features my work, has been invited back to DOK Leipzig 54th International Leipzig Festival in Germany. It will screen as part of a selection of the best documentaries using animation.
21 Oct 22:30 Cinema Filmeck
22 Oct 22:00 Cinema Universum

Assume Nothing screening in PrideWA Queer Film Festival in Perth, Western Australia.
Saturday 29th October, 4pm.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Moving into moving image

Still of "Falling" 2011

In March I exhibited my first video art work that I created in collaboration with the genius sound artist, and my close friend, Charlotte Rose. It's called "Falling" and it got the following review by Mark Amery in the Dominion Post while is was up at Mark Hutchins Gallery in Wellington.

"One by one different mouths reach into black space from the right hand side of the frame. The action is hopeful and expectant, a smile playing on saliva wet lips. This is intercut with a flash to their mouth in deep kissing action with another. This work rather effectively plays with the beautiful tension between thought and action."

It was such an exciting process to work with Charlotte Rose who enhanced the tension, anticipation and visceral elements of the work. She and I are part of a new media arts group called Sense Collective and we are creating our first video installation work called MOVE. Sense Collective is 5 arts practitioners working collaboratively with video, digital compositing, animation, motion graphics, choreography, dance and multi track soundscape to create unique sensory installations.

The video will follow a visually poetic narrative of a personal quest, centered around the notion that human beings can no longer afford to ignore their inextricable connection to, and dependence on, the planet’s wellbeing.

It's due to have it's first installation early next year. More details to follow.

My exhibition "Dying to Know" is due to show in China, Pingyao International Photography Festival in September 2011. It's part of a group show with six New Zealand photographers called "Moments and Eternity" curated by John Turner.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Events in four corners of the world, Wellington, Barcelona, Kathmandu and New York

It's been an extraordinary couple of months of art events, I feel so very lucky to be doing what I love most in my life.

The Asia Pacific Out Games were a heady mix of art, human rights and partying. At the Kissing Booth event at Mark Hutchins Gallery during SWEAT, I photographed eight couples on the night and got some hot images. I edited on the fly and uploaded the images onto the gallery screen during the evening.

At the APOG Human Rights Conference I did a workshop about the power of images with Jack Byrne, Kirsty MacDonald, Mani Bruce Mitchell and Cindy Lewis and a film screening of Assume Nothing with a Q and A afterwards.

Assume Nothing the exhibition has been on show at the Cultural Centre F. Bonnemaison since February 24th and due to it's success it has been extended until April 29th. We are hoping it will be booked at other venues through Spain.
Kirsty MacDonalds short film Black and White is screening at Contemporary Art Museum of Castilla y León in May, exact screening time to be confirmed.

Last week I returned from Nepal where the people and the mountains touched my heart. It's an experience I'll never forget. I was attending Count Me In, a conference addressing discrimination against marginalised women in South Asia organised by CREA. It was a privilege to photograph and interview a selection of people in my make shift studio. I produced a collection of 16 portraits with text which will become a shared resource for the organisations who where there. I took over 5 rolled up vinyl prints from Assume Nothing. They were part of a group exhibition with four other photographic projects, including a very interesting one by blind photographers. It was good to know it's possible to carry a studio and exhibition in carry on luggage- luckily it was never weighed.

Assume Nothing the American edition of the book, is a finalist in the Lambda Literary Awards announced in May in New York.
Continuum: Gender Identities Exhibition Opens this Saturday, April 30th, 2011, 6 - 9 pm and runs through until June 3rd at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, Ridgefield. This is a group show curated by Nancy Moore, whose son is a transguy. Through art, she wanted to to create "A big conversation in a small town".

Monday, February 28, 2011

Barcelona- reflections on connections

It's been a sobering time in New Zealand since last Tuesday, when the earthquake struck Christchurch causing so much devastation to life and lives. I have been lucky enough not to have lost anyone personally but I know people who are going through the agonising wait to hear any news of their loved ones who are still missing.

It was at the Canterbury Museum where Cris, the director of Ekrea, saw the Assume Nothing exhibition and wanted take it to Spain. The Canterbury museum has been closed since the earthquake, but all the wonderful staff there are reported to be ok, although the building has "lost bit's off it". Ekrea has project managed the exhibition touring to Barcelona where it opened two days after the earthquake at Cultural Centre F. Bonnemaison. The event raised money for the Christchurch earthquake fund.

All this has made me reflect on how we connect, across experiences, cities, countries, languages, cultures and identities. I've found myself crying daily at personal stories of loss from the earthquake. They are strangers but I feel connected to them on some level. Just as someones image and story in a gallery on the other side of the world in Barcelona will connect with a stranger in some way. I like to think of those exchanges as an invisible thread connecting two people who may never meet- and that the same threads connect us to our loved ones when they have passed.

So in this grim climate when there is so much suffering, thinking about these threads makes me feel that the world seems a little smaller, hearts a little bigger and the connection between us a little more tangible.

Opened February 24th- April 14th 2011

SWEAT- Mark Hutchins Gallery
Opens March 9th 2011
March 16th OUTGAMES event

"Continuum: Gender Identities" Exhibition.
Opening Saturday April 30th, 2011, 6 - 9 pm, until June 3rd.
Ridgefield Guild of Artists, Ridgefield

9th Annual Female Eye
Film Festival, March 16th - 20th, 2011.

2nd Asia Pacific Outgames Human Rights Conference
Thursday, March 17th, 7.30 - 9.30pm
Ilott Theatre, Wellington Town Hall
Cost: Gold coin donation

"Black and White" screening
May 2011(Details tba)
Contemporary Art Museum of Castilla y León