Otago Daily Times
‘‘Moths and Rust’’, Ro Bradshaw
(Hullabaloo Art Space, Cromwell)
‘‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt . . .’’ In her latest solo exhibition, Ro Bradshaw references a biblical passage that warns against investing heart and soul into worldly possessions that will ultimately prove transient and vulnerable. Her work frequently addresses the effects of humanity’s obsession with development, progress and the constant accumulation of material objects, and the echoing scar that can leave across the natural world. Upcycling roadside rubbish and household waste into usable artistic materials, Bradshaw’s mixedmedia works are as thoughtprovoking as they are starkly beautiful.
Her signature New Zealand falcon soars through a lonely sky in many of the scenes, the single sign of endangered, desperate life in a landscape where the human presence is represented only by lingering devastation and decay. With rusted paper collaged on the canvas before painting, the two largest works, Strata, present lines of rust like burntout earth, long planes of colour descending to strips of black, as if to highlight the ultimate endpoint of so many layers of waste. In the sky above, scatterings of rust rise like fiery dust and pollution — both aesthetically engrossing and thematically discomforting, and ultimately highly successful. The tiniest works are equally as effective, with landscapes dyed on to unfolded teabags, and miniature collages mounted in recycled CD cases — pop culture and consumerism meeting traditional tile art.