Posts Tagged ‘Sculpture’

Super Heroes – Bath St Gallery Parnell

Solo show at Bath Street Gallery in Parnell – 16th October 2012 to 4th November 2012.
As part of Auckland Artweek I will be giving a talk in the gallery on Sunday 28th October at 11am.


Super Heroes

‘Raising a child. It is not a science. It’s an art. A mysteriously delicate balance between holding tight and letting go.’ 1

It is not until later in life that one becomes aware the toys we unconsciously connected exciting personal narratives with as children, actually held adult references of an entirely different context. Aware that the actual meaning carried in many objects goes over the heads of most kids, Chris Hargreaves’ exhibition, Super Heroes, recalls the sense of mystery in childhood, where objects and toys are connected with all manner of unexpected stories through colourful young imaginations.

There is a case to argue that children these days are often cotton-balled when compared with previous generations. Imagining oneself as being elsewhere through play and unexpectedly discovering the boundaries of your own corporeality through near misses and occasional accidents is after all a part of growing up. Hargreaves ‘Swings and Roundabouts’ (2012), which presents five glass swings at variously staggered heights, is a reminder of what adults are all too aware of when watching kids play, that up to a certain age they are full of ideas but not necessarily endowed with an understanding of cause and effect.

As with super hero characters, objects from childhood bearing war references and recreations of objects designed for violence (such as guns and military vehicle models) can through the imagination of a child, inversely inspire an interest in something more peaceful and sublime than firing bullets in malice. ‘Gold Leader’, ‘To Infinity and Beyond’, ‘Richard’s Drone’, and ‘Cumulus’ (all 2012), are works based on the Lockheed F117 Nighthawk ground attack aircraft. Infamously employed in the 1990-1991 Gulf War due to having a very small radar signature 0.025 m2, Hargreaves’ works have received imaginative surface treatments, including imagery of clouds and outer space that play on the creative potential of stealth camouflage.

Some may wonder why many children are drawn to violent iconography, and may question whether an innate capacity for violence is something we are born with. The work of Japanese artist, Yoshitomo Nara, has often courted such discussion. This is understandable in part as his manga-inspired paintings of child characters have often featured nasty expressions and carried small weapons. Nara says ‘I kind of see the children among other, bigger, bad people all around them, who are holding bigger knives’.2 In essence, what it comes down to is that children occupy our world, for better or worse. The magic of childhood is seeing things as fantastical and even out of this world, when they are actually of our world and often more base than we would admit.

Matt Blomeley, October 2012

Notable Serenity at Blue Oyster

Notable Serenity


In this sculptural installation by Auckland-based artist Chris Hargreaves, Notable Serenity (2012), participants are invited to visually and audibly contemplate an experimental composition that describes our geographic home in the South Pacific.


Similar to Halo, a work he completed in 2010 for the Manukau Festival of the Arts, for this new work a number of layers have been mapped into an overriding Midi score. Comprised of intricately crafted objects and sounds that taken together present an atonal composition, Notable Serenity is primarily built around four spoken word ‘roles’. These readings, borrowed from scientific texts, are defined in musical terms as: Soprano (Clouds), Alto (Resource Management Act), Tenor (Geology) and Bass (Tectonics).


The disjunctive rush of voices reading technical texts in Notable Serenity is a reminder that one is usually best to subjugate the desire to obtain facts in order to first listen. If there is a fault, it is perhaps merely that those of us who are not scientists have the easiest route to engage with this machine-like installation, being that we will not bring to this work the same accumulated technical knowledge of the installation’s auditory content as others may.


In addition to being a metaphor for the complexity of our environment – which we have continuously struggled to understand for centuries – Notable Serenity generates a sense of the machine-related anxiety that has pervaded humanity since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Prompting us to cultivate a careful and observant attitude, rather than searching for definitions, the sociologist, Richard Sennett, has a similarly open-minded stance to Hargreaves. Describing the enlightenment philosopher Diderot’s position at the dawning machine era, he writes:


‘The enlightened way to use a machine is to judge its powers, fashion its uses, in light of our own limits rather than the machine’s potential. We should not compete against the machine. A machine, like any model, ought to propose rather than command, and humankind should certainly walk away from command to imitate perfection. Against the claim of perfection we can assert our own individuality, which gives distinctive character to the work we do.’ [1]


While Notable Serenity may be intended – similar to Diderot’s machine – as a tool for considering our physical environment, it also serves as a reminder that it is beneficial to get lost occasionally in contemplation. Visual art and music are of course two absorbing ways to do just that. Hargreaves abstraction is not environmental science, politics nor philosophy, but it can be considered a reflection of what they, individually and collectively, may represent. [2]


Matt Blomeley, 4 June 2012

[1] Sennett, Richard, The Craftsman, Penguin, London, 2009 (pp105,106)

[2] Lütticken, Sven, Stop Making Sense, Meaning Liam Gillick (ed. Szewczyk, M et al.), MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2009 (pp40). I believe the same definition applies to Hargreaves work as Lütticken writes of Gillick: ‘That Gillick’s objects and installations reflect the becoming-design of abstraction does not, of course, mean that his work is design, merely that it reflects, and reflects on, the status of design as the current paradigm of Gestaltung through its use of post-painterly design elements and its coded implementations of a concept that can be reused and adapted to different situations.’


Heavier than Air Object #5

Heavier than Air Object #5


North American White Oak (Quercus spp), Rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum)

1200mm(L) x 1000mm(W) x 420mm (H)


This work is part of the indoor show at the biannual exhibition, Sculpture in the Gardens located at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

To visit Sculpture in the Gardens please click here.

For inquiries or further information regarding this work please contact me here.

New Work at Brick Bay

Artificial Stations for Preceeding Atmospheric Movement. 2011

Marine grade aluminium, Photographic Vinyl. 800mm (W) x 400mm (H) x 900mm(L) (each).

I recently installed a new work at Brick Bay Sculpture Trail which will be on the trail for around 2 years unless sold prior. My other work at Brick Bay; Blind Refuge is still on the trail and is just around the corner from my new pieces which creates quite an interesting conversation. More to follow soon with a short video…

Navigating Clouds

caelum accipiter : Mothballed, 2011

caelum accipiter : Mothballed, 2011.
Glass, Oak, Plastic, Pine, Velvet.
approx 600x600x1000 (mm).

One must travel well off the beaten track to find a place where bird life is near its primitive condition. In all parts of the mainland there have been changes by the elimination of one or more species. The change has not been altogether one of the disappearance of native birds and their replacement by introduced species. Many kinds have gone and left nothing in their place.

– New Zealand Birds. W.R.B. Oliver.

This work is available for sale, please contact me here.




John Hurrell Review

Hargreave’s mirror pup tent mesmerises with its silvery stainless steel flanks confusingly reflecting the trees and sky

John Hurrell is a New Zealand writer, artist, curator and editor of eyeCONTACT blog site. He recently reviewed Brick Bay Sculpture Park and my work Blind Refuge which will be on display until the end of the year. I am currently working on a new piece for Brick Bay.

Read more here.

The Halo Project

The dawn chorus is silenced by jet engines… metronomic steps are interrupted by an authoritarian loudspeaker… ebbing waves are broken by playful children…


Artist Chris Hargreaves creates a stunning collision of the sounds of the Manukau region with his sculptural new media exhibition at Uxbridge Centre of Arts as part of the Manukau Festival of Arts 2010.

Audio Track Listing:

1. A low hum in the void.
2. Blessings of cross-cultural harmonics
3. Pronunciation of environmental scales
4. Prelude to a Valdivian forrest
5. Concentric glory at 12 Hz

Essay by Matt Blomeley here.

Catalogues are available, please contact me.

The Halo Project – Manukau Festival of the Arts

More to follow shortly…