Char­coal draw­ings raise ques­tions

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

Poly­chrome – the an­nual ex­hi­bi­tion of stu­dent art­work from Ara In­sti­tute of Can­ter­bury – closes this week­end at the Ai­gantighe Art Gallery.

This year Poly­chrome has dis­played art­works by Christchurch and Ti­maru post­grad­u­ate stu­dents Rachael Win­ter, Joe Smith, El­iz­a­beth Moyle, Jenny Ritchie and Craig Cook.

Lo­cal artist Cook uses char­coal to pro­duce a series of large-scale draw­ings to re­veal the lim­i­ta­tions of hu­man per­cep­tions of na­ture – rais­ing ques­tions such as: ‘‘If a beach is a liv­ing en­tity, what does the artist per­ceive of this en­tity? How can a vis­ual artist de­pict a re­al­ity that can­not be fully cap­tured by hu­man senses?’’.

Cook elab­o­rates: ‘‘My process in­volves walk­ing a stretch of rough South Can­ter­bury coast­line (Sead­own Beach) that I have be­come fa­mil­iar with over the course of my life.

‘‘The ecol­ogy of Sead­own Beach is ex­posed and vul­ner­a­ble through a com­bi­na­tion of hu­man in­duced and nat­u­ral ero­sive forces. Rem­nants of a for­got­ten past be­come hu­man de­tri­tus able to be un­earthed and al­low­ing the past to open up to the present and shim­mer in the light of a new day,’’ Cook says.

‘‘The hyp­notic puls­ing and crash­ing of waves and the wisp of salt air cir­cu­lat­ing around me en­hances a white noise and a con­tem­pla­tive state of mind – a state of mind that con­sid­ers ways of vis­ually com­mu­ni­cat­ing a phe­nomeno­log­i­cal re­sponse to this par­tic­u­lar en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘My draw­ings evolve over time into mind­scapes that rely on the phys­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence and mem­o­ries held in the mind’s eye.

‘‘Also the fragility and tran­si­tional state of the char­coal medium en­hances the con­cept that mem­o­ries are of­ten frag­men­tary, con­tain­ing mere traces of for­got­ten events,’’ Cook says. ❚ Rachael Win­ter, Joe Smith, Craig Cook will give a floor talk about their art­works on dis­play at 1pm to­day at the Ai­gantighe Art Gallery.

Above, Ti­maru artist Craig Cook use of char­coal to pro­duce a series of large-scale draw­ings to re­veal the lim­i­ta­tions of hu­man per­cep­tions of na­ture, rais­ing a num­ber of search­ing ques­tions.

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