Musings on Art

I Spy with My Little Eye…

…A spot of public art in Newmarket!  I was walking by the train station with my Bruce Lee Sushi, when I was struck by a stunning Reuben Paterson work 😀  I started thinking about this new addition as well as another colourful installation by Seung Yul Oh, situated on Teed and Osborne Streets.

I apologise in advance for these images, it was hard to photograph this work with all the poles and fences obstructing the view!

Paterson’s artwork is named Ándale, Ándale (2012) which roughly translates to ‘come on, let’s go!’ in Spanish.  This title is fitting considering its placement at the Newmarket station, where people hurriedly come and go.  It consists of fifteen panels constructed of aluminium and fabulously painted in glitter.  A work made from glitter?  Enough said 🙂

Set against a blackened background, this artwork is like an acid induced vortex of colourful flowers and bedazzling light.  Its optical flower power is reminiscent of William Morris of the Arts and Crafts Movement, as well as Op Art.  The creation of movement is twofold in Paterson’s work: through the impression that the artwork is warping; and the grit of the glitter that allows light to sprawl and shimmer on the surface.  It is fascinating the way that the eye attempts to remedy what it sees.

Ándale, Ándale is a departure from Paterson’s previous paintings. They drew influence from his father’s Māori heritage (Ngati Rangitihi and Ngai Tuhoe), and specifically kowhaiwhai patterns.  Instead he turns his focus to his Pakeha mother and the imagery and motifs of his upbringing during the psychedelic ‘70s.  Paterson’s interest in genealogy is ever-present, and he views pattern as human connection – his artworks are storytellers, expressing memories and symbolising ancestry.  This work is just beaming with beauty and bliss, and the patterns are exciting and engrossing.

If you wander a little way down the road, there is another lively and vibrant work that grabs your attention.  Seung Yul Oh’s Globgob (2010) consists of nine gorgeously coloured eggs scattered around the Teed-Osborne Streets juncture.

Oh was born in Korea then moved to New Zealand, where he completed a Masters at Elam School of Fine Arts.  He works in various media, devising playful artworks with a pop aesthetic that create situations to observe how people behave. These sculptures have a slick shiny texture, and like Paterson’s artwork, they capture and reflect the light which imbues them with vitality.  I must confess, I had totally taken photographs perching on these sculptures before realising they were his artworks 😛

But that I think, is part of the point of these works – they are interactive, animated, and activated by your encounters with them.  There isn’t that separation with public art that you get at galleries and museums; you can engage another of your five senses, you can touch these sculptures.  Furthermore, their design lends itself to this interplay with their smooth to touch finish, and their size which elicits participation from adults and children.  It is easy to lose yourself in the fun and curiosity they inspire.  If only they were massive chocolate Easter eggs!

There is a true sense of wonderment with both Paterson’s and Oh’s works.  I find their alluring colour and brilliance readily brings a smile to my face.

Do take the chance to enjoy these artworks!