Breaking ground

A group exhibition featuring Annie Sandano, Paula do Prado, Janna van Hasselt, Sarah Williams, Louise McRae, Stafford Allpress, John Appleton and Mark Rayner

preview: 5-7pm, Thursday 18 July

open: 10am-4pm Friday 19 to Sunday 21 July

location: The Tuesday Club, 42 Airedale St, Auckland City (entrance on Lyndock St)

Breaking ground brings together a group of artists who examine the instability and ambiguities of the modern world.

Link here to view the exhibition catalogue

Sarah Williams Paula do Prado_Alignment Annie Sandano

Click on artists' names highlighted below for more information

Born on Charrúa and Guaraní land (Montevideo), Uruguay and now living in Gadigal Land (Sydney), Paula do Prado examines the intersections between her African, Hispanic and European heritage together with her experience of living as a migrant on stolen land. Her works weave together intergenerational experiences and realign with her heritage as a form of self-healing, combining recycled fabrics and yarns with symbolically charged materials such as trade beads and seeds. She also resists colonial and patriarchal systems that simplify, de-humanise or silence the voices of women of colour. Her artworks connect to a broad audience by breaking down binaries, sitting in complexity and the interconnectedness of mind, body and spirit.

Annie Sandano works in a variety of media including print, paint and more recently ceramics. Her new works, created in her London studio, see figurative elements combined with geometric and organic shapes in freeform arrangements with eruptions of colour and texture. She works with what she calls a “virology of colour”: elements overlap, interact, jostle for space and achieve harmony in co-existence. Testing where painting ends and  object  begins, Sandano's painted elements often creep over the edges of her supports, distorting the lines of their rectilinear forms and edging toward the three-dimensionality of her ceramic pieces.

Janna van Hasselt's work is characterised by a pleasure in materials and a strong sense of spontaneity, playfulness and humour. It is tactile and exuberant and van Hasselt works with media ranging from printed and dyed fabric to puff pigment, ceramics, hot glue and inflatables. The works often have a feeling of controlled chaos; knots, tubes, folds and stacks are van Hasselt’s forms of choice as she experiments with the tension, stress and gravity of each object made or represented. She also explores the idea of architectural failure, questioning how far her structures can be pushed before they collapse. 

Sarah Williams’ confident and decisive movements with the brush and palette knife produce paintings which are rich, vibrant and tactile. Williams applies layer upon layer of paint; each mixed with the previous application or concealed by the following action to produce subtle variations in texture, colour and lustre. For the most part, Williams’ compositions are derived from banal architectural spaces - staircases, rooms, corridors and the like. These often have a haunting emptiness and anonymity about them and yet also an uneasy familiarity that allows the viewer to project themselves into them; the planes of her angled walls take on an impossible perspective of unease that is truer to memory than any schematic could be.

In a departure from her better-known wooden assemblage works, Louise McRae has recently been making stacks of imperfect polyhedrons and biomorphic forms in columns or groups. Cubes, spheres and blobs are are chain sawed from wood or cast from concrete. Some elements are painted, others rasped or charred with a flame; the natural characteristics of the materials remain evident. Together they form singularly unmonumental monuments which teeter on the edge of collapse. These works serve as symbols for the tipping points for our social, political, financial and environmental structures which are in similarly precarious states. But McRae recognises that moment of collapse as a moment to embrace; it is, after all where opportunity lies.

Stafford Allpress creates exquisitely faithful miniature renderings of everyday objects and environments. He describes his making as an act of archiving which is intended to go beyond any ‘cute’ factor and challenge the viewer to look harder. He has a deep appreciation for the ordinary objects which populate our lives and values the ugliness that befalls them as they are used to the point of dereliction. He is also interested in recording and archiving personal, domestic spaces; his surfaces are faithful to the sullied originals and so document the history and activities of previous owners.

John Appleton’s surreal, sometimes unsettling images are informed by the traditions of classical portraiture, still life and ornament. His works often employ anthropomorphism and decorative distortion to highlight the theatricality and artifice of the painted image. They also play with the relationship between representation and power and give us cause to reflect upon cultural politics and hierarchies of genre in fine and applied arts.

Mark Rayner’s glazed plates and figurines are a modern and playful take on the grotesque; a style characterised by exaggeration, excess, the fantastic and sometimes the abject. In recent years, Rayner has begun to work across a variety of other media, including photography and latch hook rugs. He explores unlikely juxtapositions between medium and subject, playing with traditional craft techniques to create objects and images that can be alternately construed at frightening, beguiling and absurd.