Otago Daily Times
‘‘The Earl Street Journal’’, various artists
(Milford Galleries, Queenstown)
SCULPTOR Neil Dawson excels at the juxtaposition of ephemeral subject matter and industrial materials, but his series of oversized feathers is perhaps the most striking. In nature, we often come across discarded feathers, such a mundane sight, yet so intricate and extraordinary when examined up close. Each feather has traversed tremendous stretches of land and sky, protected its bearer against the elements, offered camouflage for survival, a remnant of flight and fight in one weightless object. Dawson’s painted polycarbonate and aluminium feathers capture the elegance and delicacy, the wonder in every sleek line, but also the durability and strength behind that deceptive frailty.
Natchez Hudson has an eye and hand that can reproduce a scenic view with photographic accuracy, but his fascinating canvases never allow you to forget that you are looking at a twodimensional image. A mountain is sliced in half and flipped upside down, photorealism interspersed with large blocks of solid colour, overlaid with painted lines and geometric shapes. The work opens an important door into the continuing evolution of landscape art, an examination of the role it plays in our national art history, shifting the viewpoint and shaking up a comfort zone to new possibilities. Alongside that are pieces such as Bruce Hunt’s intensely realistic landscapes, more traditional in composition, yet also making your breath catch in their beauty. Ultimately, this year’s ‘‘Earl Street Journal’’ exhibition pays testament to how many different paths there are in art, and how much we need every creative voice.