Exhibition Category: Now Showing Wellington

Tony O’Keefe

Tony O’Keefe: ‘The Life of Normals’

Now Showing

Exhibitions Gallery, 20A Brandon Street, Wellington CBD

enquiries: ron@exhibitionsgallery.co.nz

Phone (04) 499 6356 or Ron 021 0622072

Tony O’Keefe’s latest series is essentially a study of the perpendicular. The Life of Normals looks at the values, forms and rituals that derive from the special distinction of being upright.
Presented as a set of evocative vertical tableaux the collection balances figurative and abstract elements to portray apparently familiar events. Knowing that the viewer will inevitably see themselves in these scenes
O’Keefe introduces ambiguous and disruptive volumes which challenge us to rethink this perception. Is every tower necessarily an abode? Is that really just a briefcase?

In the course of the design and creation of each artwork O’Keefe simultaneously develops a complex milieu of ideas, symbols and references. This narrative is continuously drawn back into the sculpture influencing its final expression. “I regard the completed sculpture and its syndetic story as the same piece of art,” says O’Keefe. His art frequently alludes to Christian tradition, historical events, social and ideological commentary.

Working from his zero waste studio on an organic estate near Queenstown, O’Keefe enjoys both the company of farm animals and the intensely private world of arc welding. Describing his medium of steel as
obstinate’ he wrests remarkable character from the material. The apparent conformity of his population hides the fact that each figure is unique. Created individually at the artist’s hand by the violent and random
forces of high voltage and molten steel.

Insisting that art is a mutual, multi-sensory experience O’Keefe invites people to enjoy the tactile dimensions to his sculpture and says that, unlike most exhibitions, the message here is: “Please Touch the Art”.

Job Klijn

Job Klijn:  ‘Despite all of that’ ? 

Now Showing

Exhibitions Gallery, 20A Brandon Street, Wellington CBD

enquiries: ron@exhibitionsgallery.co.nz

Phone (04) 499 6356 or Ron 021 0622072

Klijn’s paintings are emotional and atmospheric, smouldering even, with an underlying sense of danger and darkness, while remarkably retaining a sense of light or shelter – a calm region for his figures and the viewer to inhabit.

Job often alludes to an underlying fear and insecurity ruling his work due to his lack of formal training in painting, but also recognises that this plays to the style and final look of his pieces.

Job states that he  “starts his paintings by trying to create a ‘background’, a rough sky, a portrait of ‘weather’ that reflects a mood or sense of moodiness that eventually leads to a more specific idea in what direction to take it”.

“I use as much recycled material as I can and my process involves a lot of adding and subtracting of layers, texture, soil, thinning, scraping, burning, swiping etc, until there is a feeling of emotive ‘rightness’. The result often being a multitude of trial and errors”.

This penchant for brooding turbulence and turmoil as a subject, is in the end, tempered by a residual warmth and richness achieved by the process of the art making. Attentive labour and restoration, building complex layers and beauty.

Sometimes, depending on the works ‘idea’, Job will add a figure.

“I sketch endlessly from collected images that show poses I like to achieve, often mathematically re calculating the proportions of limbs and bodies to marry them together in one final sketch”.

Not all of the ‘moodscapes’ include a human form but most do. Job’s figures exude purposefulness, not seeming overwhelmed in their surrounds. They are clean cut, well dressed, stylish even, clearly comfortable and in control in their environs.

Materials from another past with a promising future!