Gallery highlights at Auckland Art Fair 2016
What’s not-to-be-missed at the newly-returned fair.
Words: Camilla Wagstaff
After a brief hiatus, Auckland Art Fair returns to The Cloud on Auckland’s Queen’s Wharf this May. Staged over five days, the 2016 edition brings together a curated selection of 40 galleries from Australia, New Zealand, South America and the Pacific.
Galleries have been selected based on the merit of their proposals by an independent selection committee comprising Michael Lett, director of Michael Lett Gallery in Auckland; Dayle Mace, longstanding supporter and patron of the Arts in New Zealand; Justin Paton, head curator of international art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Simon Rees, director of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre (New Plymouth) and cultural commentator Hamish Keith.
Gallery highlights include a two-stand presentation from Melbourne’s Fehily Contemporary, who will exhibit work by New South Wales glass artists Chick and Cobi Cockburn and Lisa Reihana, who will represent New Zealand at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. “Reihana reinterprets Maori mythology through the lens of contemporary culture,” says gallery director Lisa Fehily. “In providing modern accessibility to Maori history and lore, she bestows respect and prestige upon this fertile indigenous culture and confirms its universal inclusiveness.”
Fox Jensen, Auckland/Sydney, stages a group show of four abstract painters; American Winston Roeth, Australians Coen Young and Tomislav Nikolic, and New Zealander Leigh Martin. “Each artist is highly cognisant of the capacity of their chosen materials to be hyper-responsive to the nuances of light and its role in the delivery of colour and experience for the viewer,” says gallery co-director Andrew Jensen of the selection. Other galleries crossing the Tasman include, among others, Sydney’s Roslyn Oxley9, presenting work by Newell Harry, Isaac Julien, Nyapanyapa Yunupingu and Tracey Moffat – who has been selected to represent Australia at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017 – and Galerie pompom, who will exhibit new ceramics from Chris Dolman, video work from Heath Franco, new paintings and frescos from Mason Kimber and Todd Robinson’s balloon sculptures.
Back on home turf, New Zealand dealer Hamish McKay presents a group exhibition by stable artists Andrew Beck, Anoushka Akel, Gavin Hipkins , Karl Fritsch and Rohan Wealleans, while Auckland’s Tim Melville shows Matt Arbuckle, Phyllis Thomas, Joe Sheehan and Johl Dwyer. Not to be missed will be Christchurch gallery Jonathan Smart’s solo presentation by Hong Kong-based artist Yuk King Tan. Tan’s work spans diverse media, exploring the intersection between culture, work and identity. Tan will also be included in a group show at the Starkwhite booth, where she will be in the company of other stable artists Martin Basher, Alicia Frankovich, Laith McGregor, Seung Yul Oh and Fiona Pardington.
Auckland’s Whitespace Contemporary Art showcases the work of four artists whose work reflects their deep concerns for the environment – Lianne Edwards, Nic Moon, Garry Currin and preeminent sculptor Greer Twiss. “I like the idea of the Auckland Art Fair being a boutique regional event, the artists I am showing are clearly grounded in New Zealand and present a powerful and unique statement as artists in Aotearoa,” says gallery director Deborah White.
Auckland Art Fair has more than tripled in size since the inaugural event in 2005. The 2013 fair attracted 10,000 visitors and generated sales of more than $3.5 million. From 2005 to 2015 the fair was guided by the NZ Contemporary Art Trust Board whose members include Richard Scoular (Chair), Jennifer Buckley, Michael Lett, Hilary Lewis, Dayle Mace, David Ross, Dale Spencer, and Deborah White.
Early bird tickets for the fair are on sale now until 30 April 2016 and will save you $5 off the full price single entry ticket to the fair.
Auckland Art Fair runs from 25 to 29 May at The Cloud on Auckland’s Queen’s Wharf. For more information and to buy tickets visit artfair.co.nz.
Image: Rohan Wealleans, The Wizard of Forgotten Flesh, 2012. Polystyrene, fibreglass, paint, from Apocalyptic Intuition, Auckland Art Fair 2013, Hamish McKay Gallery, Wellington. Courtesy: Auckland Art Fair.