16 JUL – 4 AUG.2018
A group show by Esther Deans, Chauncey Flay and
Fragments is a group exhibition of the work of painter, Esther Deans, multimedia artist Sena Park and sculpturist, Chauncey Flay. Through juxta positioning the aesthetically disparate work of the three artists, the viewer is invited to consider Fragments; of our physical world, of our memory, and the intersection of both.
The central concept of Fragments revolves around the simultaneous breakdown and erosion of architectural structures and memories. Rather than soft crumbling however, Fragments approaches this natural degradation with hard, fractured, angular lines. This concept is conveyed visually through reimagined buildings, suggestions of people within spaces, and fragments of found materials which have been repurposed into geometric sculptures.
Deans comes from a family of artists including the renowned Canterbury artist, Austen Deans (Deans’ late grandfather), and her Uncles; Paul Deans and Lindsay Crooks. Self-taught, Deans has developed a profound technical ability alongside a distinct style. Felicity Milburne (Judge of the 2017 Molly Morpeth Canaday Art Award) discusses Deans’ work (which took the Merit award); “Combining fragmenting views, dissolving planes and uncertain perspectives, it values complexity over clarity…”.
Deans’ contribution to Fragments consists of a series of paintings, half of which depict her family manor, Morven, and half of which depict fragmented architectural structures. Painting from memory, due to the effects of the Christchurch earthquakes, Dean’s paintings of Morven (located in Darfield, South Island) house suggestions of the people who inhabited the space and their lives. Painted in fragmented views, Deans leaves aspects of her memory for us to piece together. Alongside these works are rotundas and motorways, contrasting curves and hard lines.
Self-taught artist Chauncey Flay, addresses similar concepts in his practice although through starkly different materials and methods. Working with repurposed materials including schist, obsidian, Himalayan Jade, Cook Island coral and glass, Flay employs machinery to create his works. Using repurposed fragments of man-made and natural materials, Flay’s sculptures house memories and histories within them as opposed to depicting them. Flays works, constructed out of naturally forming materials such as coral, elucidate the connection, as environmental factors are recorded within the material, acting as memory.
The materials Flay employs in his works are typically sourced directly by Flay; greywacke from Wellington beach and coral from the Cook Island beaches, where masses wash up after tropical storms. Motivated by our environment and a desire to play, Flay’s practice revolves around trial and error. The coral works were porous and light but after filling the object with poly filler numerous times, Flay was able to strengthen the object sufficiently to create clean, flat facets. Other works utilise previously used building materials whilst visually referencing architectural structures; their deconstruction and re-construction.
The final artist in this threesome is Korean born Sena Park who holds her master’s in fine arts (gained through Elam, 2015). Park holds an extensive exhibition history, having shown her work Aotearoa wide as well as in Australia, China, Korea and soon, Mongolia, where Park will travel for one month to participate in LAM360 (Land Art Mongolia). LAM360 is a biennial art festival with a focus on the relationships between nature, culture and social policies. Furthermore, Park will be completing a six-month residency in Shanghai from July 2019.
Park’s contribution to Fragments consists of several works previously shown at Corner Window Gallery (Auckland) in an exhibition curated by Rob Garrett (2018) and several new works. Inspired by a trip to South East Asia, and made from memory, Park’s sculptural and paper works are her reflections. She states “…the buildings are tightly packed, like a patchwork quilt…the modern spaces incorporate green elements, adding nature as an afterthought for its aesthetic value… all the tangled electric cables…”. Park’s work considers a temporary construction which is crude, chaotic and responsive.
Although visually disparate, Fragments offers the thoughts of three artists on the concept of time, place and memory, with traces of life throughout the works. Reflective in nature, Fragments considers construction, deconstruction and our human life within and around architectural structures.