Christina Read

Funny, goofy and charm­ing, the artist’s work is trying – but as Me­gan Dunn notes, we live in trying times.

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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’.

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