The last billboards project for 2009 is by Auckland artist Gavin Hipkins. Throughout his career Hipkins has consciously expanded his photographic methodologies and his recent series Bible Studies (New Testament) marks a turn in Hipkins’ practice towards religious subjects. Christina Barton states:, “Hipkins returns to a source that evokes his own religious education in 1970s suburban New Zealand, but his images take us beyond his past to a larger legacy of associational representation, to suggest that personal experience is forever enmeshed with and takes shape from the clash and clamour of multiple cultural codes and visual material references.”
Such layered meanings are largely conveyed through the use of digitally scanned embroidered patches which punctuate each image. They fundamentally alter the way the images are received by both concealing portions of the pictures and inserting new messages and quotes within them. This exhibition marks a new transition for the artist as he abandons images altogether and instead imbeds these patches within fields of retro linear patterns. Maintaining an interest in transcendental traditions, the patches together form a quote from William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell, playing off the roadway site of the billboards and the hellish daily commute of local residents.