Seeking out art is one of our amusements and pastimes. We frequent galleries [art museums & selling galleries] as often as we can. And finding art that’s escaped from the galleries out into the streets, onto external walls, and into parks can be great fun as well. So while it’s a considerable sadness that the Christchurch City Art Gallery has to remain closed until the needed earthquake-strengthening work is completed, the gallery’s enterprise in taking art out into the streets and various spaces in the city provides repeated opportunity to go on brief adventures of hunt-the-art. Currently the Gallery is celebrating 10 years since the new gallery building opened [“It’s our party and we’ll cry if we want to”] and the exhibition on show around town is titled, Populate!
Yesterday we saw the wonderful silvered and mass solidity of Gregor Kregar’s gnomes guarding the south entrance to the gallery. Round the corner are the delightfully posed and assured lace monitor lizards at home in Joanna Braithwaite’s Lizard Lounge.
This morning [a stunning Canterbury autumn day – still chill air, warm sun] we sought out exhibitions in the gallery on the second floor sandwiched between C1 below and the Physics Room above: brutal hand-painted film posters; and intricate drawings by Jess Johnson. Across the wasteland beyond C1, in the gallery above NG are 3 pieces of excellent video art. When we’ve found video art in galleries we’ve frequently found ourselves declaring it dull and boring, obvious or pretentious, and all too often, a waste of time and space. Daniel Crooks wonderfully fluid and compelling videos are notable exceptions to this judgement. So too are these works by New Yorker Tony Oursler: “grotesque, morphing faces and tragicomic dialogues invite both our discomfort and our empathy”. Finding his stuff was worth this morning’s art-hunt-adventure. Next will be going out one evening to find the night-time projections onto the exterior gallery walls which are the others of his pieces currently also on show.