What’s in the Stockroom?

To celebrate 10 years since we started our ‘What’s in the Stockroom?’ newsletter, each week we wander through one of the region’s premiere stockrooms to find out what treasures lay inside.

Jhana Millers Gallery

This week we visit Wellington’s Jhana Millers Gallery, with director Jhana Millers. Pictured with artworks by Jaime Jenkins, Ayesha Green and Moniek Schrijer.

Ayesha Green (Ngāti Kahungunu, Kai Tahu), For Hine, 2017. Acrylic on recycled billboard vinyl, 320 x 570cm.

“For Hine is a reproduction of a drawing by Tupaia — the Tahitian Polynesian navigator, translator and arioi who played a pivotal role in navigating the Endeavour to New Zealand and mediating between Māori communities, Captain Cook and the crew on their first visit to New Zealand,” says Millers. “The often-copied drawing shows Joseph Banks and an unnamed Māori trading a crayfish.”

“Green’s practice attempts to re-locate and re-define the power relationships within Māori representation. Her works challenge the representation of both contemporary and historic Māori within a tourism context and within the context of nation making. Green likes her works to be large enough that they impose. While this can make storage a problem in a stockroom, I applaud her for it.”

Kāryn Taylor, Sun Square, 2020. Cast acrylic, Edition of 3, 60cm diameter x 4.5cm.

“Taylor’s wall-based acrylic light works are simple yet clever. The yellow and pink works, in particular, glow with a fierce radiance. The works are not powered, rather all the light is ambient and results from a very skilful and practiced use of materials.”

“I have worked with Taylor many times over the years, first not long after she completed her Masters at Elam when I ran a non-profit gallery specialising in showing the work of recent art graduates. Taylor has two aspects to her practice: these wall-based light works and also installation works that play with projection, colour, form and lines. I appreciate that she still pursues these more complex but far less sellable works.”

Erica van Zon, Noodles, 2019.
Embroidery cotton on linen, framed 37 x 37cm.

“Van Zon is a master at creating irreverent, quirky and infectious works inspired by her personal fascinations, and encounters with the local and wider world. A bowl of noodles, avocados and eggs, a reluctant Daphne Bush, or a view from an airplane window might be recreated and repurposed by the artist, using craft-based materials of embroidery, ceramics, beading and tapestry.”

“Noodles is one of my favourites of van Zon’s from our stockroom for its simple and pared-back colour palette, its abstract quality and the small yet bold chilli and coriander leaf detailing. It is also referencing one of my favourite Wellington dishes from the Vietnamese/fish and chip shop not far from the gallery – the lamb and lemongrass Phở.”

Denys Watkins, Knossos, 2014. Watercolour on paper, framed 34 x 34cm.

“This is a small but arresting abstract watercolour by Denys Watkins that we first exhibited at the Auckland Art Fair in 2019. Watkins is a highly respected contemporary NZ artist with a career spanning 5 decades. In the early stage of his career, he was widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s finest printmakers, a media since superseded by painting and watercolour.”

“What draws me to Watkins’ abstract works is the masterful juxtaposition of colours and forms, combined in a way that seems very simple, yet alludes to a skill acquired over decades. We have a selection of Watkins’ watercolours as well as his more vivid and complex acrylic painted works.”

Harry Culy, Untitled (Eden), Queensland, Australia, 2019. Archival pigment print, Edition of 3 + AP, framed 76.2 x 61cm.

“Culy uses a large-format camera to take his photographs of everyday life in both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. While this work could be from many places, it was shot in Queensland on one of Harry’s many trips into the vast Australian landscape. This work hints at a larger narrative that might exist beyond the picture plane and his work often investigates the space between the imagined and the real.”

“I was born in Queensland, but grew up in provincial New Zealand. Personally, this image resonates with me as a land that is familiar, yet has been forgotten and sits somewhat uneasily as a glorified birth place.”

Moniek Schrijer, Surface no.7, 2019. Sterling silver, jade, carnelian, patina paint, cotton cord, 13 x 10cm.

“Schrijer is a contemporary jeweller and Surface no.7 is part of a larger series of ongoing works called Surface Studies. She starts with a flat sheet of silver or copper, painted then adorned with precious and semi-precious stones. The works are pendants that can be worn or could simply be hung on the wall as a small artwork. The full suite of pendants in Surface Studies form a bold, eye catching collection with a strong focus on experimentation and process.”

“I first met Schrijer when we studied together at Whitireia New Zealand, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards and residencies. Her most notable accolades include the 2016 Herbert Hofmann Preis and the 2015 Françoise van den Bosch artist in residence in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.”

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