Padraic Ryan, Sam Walker, Chloe Summerhayes

Padraic Ryan

Showing 2nd March 2022 - 19th March 2022

Exhibition Information

Padraic Ryan, Sam Walker, Chloe Summerhayes - Padraic Ryan


Sam Walker 


Artist Statement

In October of 2020 — immediately upon the completion of my Masters project Liminal — I picked up my Christchurch-entrenched existence and moved to Wellington. It was only three weeks earlier that I had flown for the first time: a weekend trip to seek out a new home.

On the day we moved we did not fly, we drove. The cadence of the landscape transitioned in slow motion yet the landmarks flashed by quickly. When you are in the air the indicators of motion are at such a distance you might as well not be moving at all. Close to the ground you know you are shifting. It still was not enough for me.

Recalibration has taken place over the last year-and-a-half but in a lot of ways this transposed life still feels surreal and not wholly my own. With the physical move came psychological, social and emotional shifts. I come back to my childhood home periodically to collect piece of myself. I leave what I do not want to hold anymore: the numerous things that spill out of my grip or that are too cumbersome and heavy to lift.

The belonging I feel in Christchurch is no longer tied into the enmeshed beliefs I unwittingly carried for twenty-five years, but to the landscape. In the wide-open horizon and rolling expanses of light, the orange-toned-green and burnt-gold grass sporadically shaded by European trees. The endless horizon opens me up and I have space to breathe again.

Bar the sliver of strait viewable from the Hutt, there is no horizon-line in Wellington: in its place is a verticality. The stacks of hills — carved with hairpin turns and cluttered houses — impose on me. All the land is claimed by buildings and trees, there is no space, no breath. In Christchurch the clutter was personal: it was not imbedded in the landscape.

Even the wind is different here — not freezing cold easterlies, cold southerlies and hot nor’westers — straddling either side of neutral. I like the Wellington climate, even when it blows like nothing else. I like my personal spaces in this home. I like the dense inner-city and the friendly demeanour

of its occupants. But I do not feel a sense of belonging as a contributing artist, as a person. I would have to become something else to stay here. Maybe I will become someone else, healing in these places that do not fully facilitate it.

I cannot see my destination in the distance when I fly, I look laterally. I am not the pilot, I am just a passenger: I cannot see where I am coming from or where I am going, just the landscape scattered below me. The valleys, peak, lakes, rivers and forests all become blips. All that takes up vertical space — the obstacles difficult to navigate — they flatten to shapes and forms. Untethered from the ground they are not obstacles anymore.

In our modern age of cars, ferries and planes topographical boundaries of mountains and cities are permeable. The external barriers that cemented our entrenched notions of self fall apart, dislocating like shoddy knees and shoulders.

Upon my return to Christchurch I will hang this exhibition. The first and last February I flew over the scorched Port Hills I cried. We looped over the city in a sweeping arch, and below the sprawling Canterbury plains and fragmented suburbs put on a show. The circumnavigation allowed me a pilot’s view: to what awaited ahead, below, behind. I do not know if I will cry this time. I do not know if the hills will be so brown they hum purple.

I am dislocated from place and myself. I feel grounded but not really here, not really knowing who I am or where I belong. Both homes feel right, both feel temporary. I return for a week or two to the place I had always lived, but I know I cannot stay: that I should not. It is still home, but not wholly my own.

Chloe Summerhayes 


Artist Statement

My current practice is informed by questions and ideas around the cyclical nature of ourselves and our environments. Depictions of Rubenesque putti reappear throughout the series suggesting narrative and inviting interpretation. Despite alluding to canonical narrative within an historical context, this imagery is, primarily, a starting point for an exercise in painterly abstraction. Led by process, the work arrives somewhere between figuration and abstraction. This process is meditative, repetitive and shadowed by the pressures of time.

Padraic Ryan 

Someone’s home

An exploration of the life that these small squares and rectangles of light give to a house: The suggestion that someone is home. Leaving the lights on for when they get back safe. Falling asleep on the couch watching television… again. Waking up before the sun rises to get a head start on the day. Getting home after the sun has set because work ran late. Being up at midnight because your bladder isn’t what it used to be. Keeping the lights on because the hallway is scary in the dark. 

Full Exhibition Works

Padraic Ryan, Sam Walker, Chloe Summerhayes - Padraic Ryan

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