It is that time of the year again: Artweek Auckland! And, I got on one of the collection tours! I missed out last year as they book up fast, but I was determined this time around, and had my game face on. I chose the Chapman Tripp and ANZ Centre tour, as the collection contains a number of impressive artworks by fantastic artists.
The artworks in the ANZ Centre foyer were selected by Paul Baragwanath, director of ARTTFORM, in consultation with architects Warren and Mahoney (WaM), Precinct Properties and ANZ Bank. Each work was commissioned, and there is an overarching theme of the natural world and drawing the outdoors in.
Working in an anti-clockwise fashion from the main revolving door that opens onto Albert St, is the first of many stunners. Placed near the escalators on the far right of the building, Birds and Boats (2013) by Neil Dawson features intricate sailboats constructed from painted steel. The abstracted pattern could also resemble the wings of birds and swelling waves. The burnished metal catches and throws light, of which this building has an abundance of, and further highlights the complexity and detail of Dawson’s sculpture. When viewed from the main doors, the eye is drawn to the contrasting geometry of the spherical shape of his work which is framed by the square gap in the inner wall.
Moving up the escalator from Dawson’s artwork and behind the concierge’s desk, is an inescapable work titled Orangery (2013, vinyl installation on glass, 400 x 1600 m) by Sara Hughes. This captivating installation consists of pale hued vinyl affixed on both sides of the glass, with slashes of green that look like blades of fresh grass. Cut into the shape of leaves, the layering of the vinyl is reminiscent of fallen foliage. Hughes’ work needed to be transparent to allow light into the foyer, and in a way it acts like a curtain to allow the ivy on the wall behind to grow. I think it generates great interest – it makes you want to find a gap and peer through it, or examine the differing colour combinations created from the vinyl overlapping. At certain times of the day, the leaves multiply as the vinyl casts shadows on the marble floor.
It is pretty hard to ignore Winston Roeth’s work. In a Silent Way (2012, Kremer pigments with polyurethane dispersion, cellulose and water on aluminium core board panels, 4565 x 4264 mm) comprises of 12 panels, each with a distinct hum. American artist Roeth created all the colours himself, and they can be difficult to characterise. At different times of the day and with light streaming from various origins, the oscillations in the colours are fascinating and mercurial. The gold borders on each are also of slightly differing shades: the gold on the top left orange panel and the far right purple seemed more bronzed, whilst it looked more silvery around the pale blue panel in the top row (at the particular time I was looking at them). Roeth’s artwork is compelling to observe, and can be seen from many angles around the foyer, thus was designed without a singular focal point.
Circling around to the back left of the foyer is another Sara Hughes. I have long been a fan of Hughes’ work and was delighted to find not one, but two of her commissions here. Placed in a narrow, historic corridor is Wintergarden (2014, LED light and Plexiglas) an exquisite installation inspired by pendulous wisteria and other flora, like those seen in Auckland’s Wintergarden. Each leaf/blade has an LED light which diffuses down and then along the length of the leaf/blade. The subtle modulations in colour and light are computer powered, and the leaves/blades vacillate along the colour spectrum through blues, greens, purples, yellows and pinks. With its low ceiling this work has a graceful, elegant magic, not unlike twinkling stars or a wind rustling through leaves. As modifications could not be made to the corridor and wary that it would see its fair share of foot traffic, Hughes’ artwork responds to and invigorates the space.
Passing through the corridor you encounter Piki Ake_Rise Up by Peata Larkin (2013, acrylic on gauze weave on lightbox, 2400 x 3700 x 90 mm). Positioned opposite the elevators that lead down to the carpark, her work acts as a welcome; a bright reception for those arriving from the basement. Larkin’s process is engrossing: the surface of the weave is painted white and then sensational baubles of paint are pushed through the back, before it is mounted on an LED lightbox. With its ziggurat design, the artwork has a glittery Art Deco vibe. Larkin draws from her Māori heritage, as the design resembles the poutama (stepped/stairway to heaven) tukutuku panelling pattern. The use of blue and white makes this work seem heavenly and transcendental, and it is extraordinary to view up close and at a distance, during the day and at night. You can read more about Peata Larkin in a previous post I wrote.
This post focussed on the artworks in the ANZ Centre foyer as they are easily accessible, yet if you are ever in the Chapman Tripp offices do take a look at their collection of objects. All relate to the theme of sustainability and some to look out for are:
- Sriwhana Sprong’s coke bottles, Givenchy perfume bottles, cow bells and matches, made from lac that will melt if left in the sun. Completely pitch black with a lustrous sheen, each item is delicately rendered and engages with the senses. Sprong’s work points to the influence of consumerism and the throwaway culture that has arisen.
- A paint tube made from greywacke by Joe Sheehan. The invention of the paint tube was a catalyst in the practice of painting, allowing the Impressionists to venture outside (en plein air) to capture scenes and changing light in the moment. The weight of the tube could be likened to its importance in the history of art making, and that it cannot be so easily disposed of, as it is a solid rock that is common to New Zealand.
- An axe with flowers growing out the handle by Peter Madden. Utilising old National Geographic magazines, Madden cuts up the images and pages to create this work. There are themes of creation, destruction, rejuvenation and recycling with Madden’s art, and there is an interesting dynamic when you think of how axes are used to fell something yet here they have sprouted life.
- Each of Janet Green’s ceramic goblets features a skull in relief, to serve as a reminder about mortality – a humorous placement for lawyers’ offices. The goblets have a delightful matte texture, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the search for the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Likely my fave out of the four films, probably due to Sean Connery 🙂
I hope you all got out and about to see some of the amazing things on offer during Artweek!
For more info on Artweek Auckland please see: