Ben Reid – the weight of feathers, Sue Cooke – Silvia Inferno, Josh Bashford – Regeneration 2

Ben Reid Sue Cooke Josh Bashford

Showing 3rd December 2019 - 21st December 2019

Exhibition Information

Ben Reid – the weight of feathers, Sue Cooke – Silvia Inferno, Josh Bashford – Regeneration 2 - Ben Reid Sue Cooke Josh Bashford

Sue Cooke – Silvia Inferno

Silva Inferno is an exhibition inspired by the glow and the power of fire and its role in deforestation. The exhibition depicts the beauty, tragedy and regeneration of a forest during and after the burn.

The images have developed through my drawings, observations and research of increased wildfires worldwide due to industrialised forestry practises and climate change. In particular the ferocity of the largescale Port Hills Wildfires of 2017 and a visit to Millstream in Western Australia’s Pilbara region after a controlled burn.

I admire the specialised knowledge and techniques of the controlled burning techniques of the Australian Aboriginal people and the American Indian people. I despair at the Brazilian Amazon that continues to burn, and advocate for sustainability and care of the environment.

Fire has been part of my own recent experience. On the night of July 20th 2019 I watched the brick and matai structure of a heritage building in downtown Whanganui owned by my husband and I tragically burn beyond repair.

The exhibition Silva Inferno uses chiaroscuro, a technique of working with deep rich blacks and strong contrasts of light. A wordplay, Silva, meaning forest in Latin also refers to the sheen I have achieved through working with gold, silver and copper on black paper. The works highlight the post blaze patina of silver ash, the now gold and rust coloured scorched foliage and deep black carbon.

 

Josh Bashford

Regeneration 2

2019

 

Like a phoenix, Josh Bashford rises with renewed engagement with the world and his art, after a serious accident early in 2019. A period of recuperation, unable to work on his distinctive, intricate woodcuts, resulted in an unexpected shift into new forms and colour, then a stunning refinement of his best-known, larger black and white works based on the natural world around his Canterbury studio.

 

The colour works are challenging, as you might expect given they emerged through the process of regenerating body and soul after the injury.

Questing, sometimes bewildered faces float amidst a fluid swirl of motifs – swimmers and divers, suggesting the building up of bodily strength, as well as his more familiar whales and birdlife. He brings new technique to the colour works, first embossing the woodcut into the canvas, applying colour highlights, and finally overprinting the structure of the black woodcut to create works that are powerful but fluid at the same time 

 

It was also a year of new generations in his family, and in the teeming birdlife in the Little River area, which Bashford has embraced in his incredibly detailed large woodcuts. There’s a firm nod to his Samoan heritage and tapa cloth in the ink on unstretched canvas; these latest have notably evolved from his earlier works to appear – deceptively – effortless. Teeming with birdlife, and motifs of nurtured new generations, swirling, joyous; they reflect a young artist regenerating into a new period of confident art practice.

 

 

Full Exhibition Works

Ben Reid – the weight of feathers, Sue Cooke – Silvia Inferno, Josh Bashford – Regeneration 2 - Ben Reid Sue Cooke Josh Bashford

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