Te Tuhi is proud to present Greentext thread, a solo exhibition by Auckland-based artist Sonya Lacey. Since 2007 Lacey has exhibited consistently in artist-run spaces and public galleries including Newcall Gallery, St Paul St Gallery and Artspace, in Auckland; The Physics Room, Christchurch; Victoria & Hester, Glasgow; and has recently undertaken a residency at the The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. Lacey’s practice, to date, has involved an ongoing enquiry into ephemeral communications media coupled with a phenomenological investigation of space. In recent installments, her work has incorporated film, printed media, performed readings, cast metal objects and custom-made furniture in spatially engaging arrangements.
In Greentext thread, Lacey exhibits a significant new addition to this body of work by creating an extensive series of small black and white airbrushed images. This series of works have grown out of Lacey’s interest in online ‘imageboards’, such as ‘tumblr’ and ‘4chan.’ In these imageboards unrestricted imagery collate, like digital flotsam and jetsam, in disparate groupings without contextual information. The only evident logic that informs such websites is an evolving thread of collective contribution through endless circulation and 'reposting' of images found online. For Te Tuhi, Lacey has reproduced a selection of imagery that resemble a similar disparate grouping of content including dated catwalk fashion photography, post-modern architecture, snapshots of ubiquitous consumer items and common materials.
Yet, these works are more than merely pictorial surfaces, they are also significant as extremely fragile objects. The images are created by numerous layers of finely filtered ink to the extent that it achieves the quality of dust, resulting in the ink resting on the paper rather than being absorbed. The unstable surface and paper support is emphasised by the precarious method of display. While a few works are framed securely between sheets of glass, many of the works are simply placed unprotected upon tables. Together the everyday imagery, inherent fragility and soft grey tonal range make the works resemble ghostly duplicates.
In addition to the images are two other elements - an ambiguous slick metal form resting on the floor and a performative action that intervenes surreptitiously into the exhibition’s opening preview. Cast in solid zinc and measuring no larger than a book, the smooth glinting form resembles the chrome and curvature now so commonly associated with the latest desired techno gadgets or designer furnishings.
In the performance, an intimate experience of text is shared with inquisitive individuals. Interested visitors will be able to read a thread of writing that draws together various content in a way that resembles a ‘greentext thread', a convention of quoting firsthand experience common on the website 4chan.
Through these parings of content, form, materiality, use of space, and social engagement Lacey’s work leads to pensive reflections on the passing fashions of communications media. Reflections that might move beyond a simplistic critique of the superficial values of digital communication, to lingering considerations on how such media shapes our experience of perceptual space.