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09 December 2006 —
25 February 2007

Steve Carr:
Goes nowhere like a rainbow

Steve Carr, Smoke Train, 2005 (still). 35mm film transferred to SD video. Colour, silent. 1 min 50 secs.
Steve Carr, Smoke Train, 2005 (still). 35mm film transferred to SD video. Colour, silent. 1 min 50 secs.


Goes nowhere like a rainbow features sculpture and film by Auckland artist Steve Carr, across both galleries one and two. Carr’s work is stamped with his trademark whimsical humour and lightness of approach. Goes nowhere like a rainbow offers us various scenarios which, although very different in their realisation, all imply tension between ideas of comfort versus danger.

A life-size pile of logs are stacked as though ready for winter fires, but, instead of the wood you might expect, are made from clear blown glass which is almost invisible from certain angles. Marshmallows on sticks appear ready to be roasted, while a pile of chicken wishbones are also scattered on the floor. The transparency of the glass works serve to create a suggestion of the actual objects themselves, rather in the way that a drawing might operate. On one level they are simple sculptural forms—on another level there is a mysterious quality to this arrangement from which we can imagine a plethora of different stories.

In gallery two the film Smoke Train is based on a game the artist’s mother used to play when he was a child. A young woman shows her daughter how to make smoke billow from the carton of a packet of cigarettes. The connection between the two is clearly a loving bond, yet, in an apparent contradiction, smoking around children has in recent times become taboo. Smoke Train shows us how quickly social norms can become stigmas, as Carr says: “part advertising, part documentary, part home movie—caught up in the honesty of the moment you entirely forget it's a cigarette.”

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