Te Tuhi is proud to present Sculpture/Metal a solo exhibition by Auckland-based artist, and 2011 Iris Fisher Scholar, Louise Menzies. Since 2005, Menzies has exhibited throughout New Zealand in public galleries such as the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth; Adam Art Gallery, Wellington; The Physics Room, Christchurch; and Artspace, Auckland.
Integral to Menzies’ artistic enquiry is an investigation into personal and little known social histories. Often incorporating 16mm film, photography, printed matter and everyday objects to meld contextual information with intimate and nuanced spatial experiences, Menzies’ work might also provide a critical reflection on media themselves as materials.
Menzies’ Te Tuhi exhibition features a continuation of this enquiry through a new film work that investigates the informal aspects of artistic practice and the legacy of art education, in particular the history of Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University, where Menzies recently completed her Masters of Fine Arts. This film (16mm film, transferred to digital video) studies the office of Graeme Brett, sculpture/metal technican for the 3-D HUB at Elam, and one of the School’s longest standing employees. The film pans through a series of composed shots that document piles of ephemera, sculptural fragments, preparatory sketches, tools, art magazines, research images and bookshelves stacked with art history literature.
Throughout the film, subtitles meld various quotations from Gertrude Stein and the artist. These statements dwell on the role of uncertainty, happenstance and predetermined ideas versus unexpected outcomes in artistic practice. While the subtitles appear to have no obvious relation to what we see, the statements evoke doubt around the certainty of considering an artwork ‘resolved’ or even the validity of control within an artistic career. The work also reflects on the social, personal and atmospheric influences that add to the art education experience and contribute to the repute that institutions like Elam have come to embody.
Louise Menzies is the fifth recipient of the Iris Fisher Scholarship, a Te Tuhi initiative that annually rewards an outstanding visual art student enrolled in an Auckland tertiary institution. The scholarship is named after Iris Fisher, an important founding member of the Pakuranga Arts Society and driving force behind the creation of the Fisher Gallery, later to become Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts. Her original bequest has fostered contemporary visual art practice not only in Pakuranga, but also in the wider Auckland region. In keeping with her vision the Iris Fisher Scholarship has been established to assist tertiary-level visual art students with their studies.
Te Tuhi would like to acknowledge Stephen Fisher for his ongoing involvement with the Scholarship.