Funny, goofy and charming, the artist’s work is trying – but as Megan Dunn notes, we live in trying times.
Here’s a plan: if a Hollywood movie was made of her life she’d be played by the actress Kristen Wiig because the artist Christina Read is funny and goofy and charming. And also because she makes self-reflexive art painfully aware of its own verbal tics. Read’s last exhibition, produced for the end of her 2016 Olivia Spencer Bower residency in Christchurch, was titled Here’s A Plan (things to do) and was based on plans for exhibitions that she hadn’t yet made, inspired by chapter titles from a non-fiction book that she hadn’t written. Confused? So is Christina. Pop psychology intrigues her. She consumes self-help books and sews evasive to-do lists on fabric wall hangings, her handcrafted sentences often crossed out, for example how to stop being me (and become someone better). Whether her medium is painting, sculpture, quilting or works on paper, Read always leaves room for her reader. ‘Meditation Quilt’ (2017) is an ebullient blue fabric decorated with a broken circular motif. “I was keen to do a work that was very optical and spinney, something that sucked you in,” she says. Her quilt zeros in on doubt. We live in trying times and Read’s art is trying.
2 1. ‘Here’s a Plan’. 2. ‘Where I was from’. 3. ‘Meditation Quilt’.