Sofia Minson and Matt Gauldie Connecting Threads Exhibition:
Sofia Minson and Matt Gauldie joint exhibition of 14 new
large-scale portrait and landscape oil works at Parnell Gallery
22 November to 6 December 2011
Open seven days
Monday - Friday 9:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm
Sunday 11:00am - 4:00pm
263 Parnell Rd, Auckland
Watch this video of NZ musician Tiki Taane responding
to Sofia Minson's
paintings of him with full-face Moko:
About the exhibition:
The theme of the show "Connecting Threads" describes Gauldie and Minson's explorations into family lineage. 14 large-scale portrait and landscape oil works depict the artists' ideas on mixed whakapapa and the codes or expectations which are consciously, or unconsciously, passed from one generation to the next.
Photos from opening night:
Matt Gauldie's work:
Matt Gauldie's paintings depict the lives of an extended Maori family, living and working in a seaside village – a village that belongs in any rural New Zealand landscape.
He creates a sense of place in his work by including the physical: his use of old car panels and paraphernalia found scattered around the local community provides a tangible link between the people and their landscape.
Each of Gauldie's pieces capture a different family member and their contribution to daily life, the work engages, drawing you into the threads that weave the people and the land that shapes and sustains them.
Sofia Minson's work:
Sofia Minson's new pieces include mythological New Zealand landscapes with native birds and waka as well as close-up black and white portraits of contemporary Maori people who keep the culture and spirit of their ancestors alive and evolving in themselves.
Two of the portraits are two-metre-wide oil paintings of New Zealand musician, Tiki Taane, with painted face moko. They are powerful close-up images, which bring clearly to view the connection he forges between himself and his whakapapa. The paintings have been works-in-progress for 12 months ever since Minson photographed Taane in her Auckland art studio, marking the beginning of her painting process.
Minson explains how she and the chart-topping musician came to know each other: "We were in the same issue of Mana Magazine a few years ago and Tiki emailed me to say that he liked my art and perhaps we could think of a way to collaborate together in the future, through album artwork or merchandise for his music. I think of this portrait as a collaboration because the paintings are so full of Tiki's story and his presence, which comes through his Ta Moko and the intensity of his eyes."
Minson's mixed Maori (Ngati Porou), Swedish, English and Irish ancestry has sparked her interest in how we relate to the culture of our ancestors in a contemporary world.
Taane has worn his moko previously as artwork: inspired by C.F. Goldie portraits, he presents himself with full facial moko on the cover of his Past, Present, Future album.
Since his arrested in April for singing "f*** the police" at a Tauranga nightclub, Minson says "Tiki must have found the media and legal spotlight challenging to deal with but he kept a positive attitude. Now the charges have been dropped and they've managed to sort it out through mediation.
As a fellow artist I admire his strength coming out with a new song "Freedom To Sing" and a new album "In the World of Light" as he's proving his creativity and inspiration is more powerful than ever. I feel there is no better time than now to create this portrait. In this painting he proudly wears his moko, an outward sign of his inner growth and resilience."
Interview with Tiki Taane on Ta Moko:
1. How was the decision made to have you wearing Ta Moko for your album Past, Present, Future?
Seeing as the album was delving into my story of understanding my whakapapa, I wanted the artwork & especially the cover to be similar to a Goldie portrait.
2. Who designed your moko?
Inia Taylor from Mokoink, who has tattooed a lot of me & also my mum, drew the moko based upon my whakapapa, new & old. We made the prosthetic moko for the video Tangaroa in which I play the roll of my Tipuna..
3. Would you ever get a permanent full-face moko?
Yes, the moko that we designed will be the one I will eventually wear, but that will be in many years. Like DNA, it is mine & mine only. My son & his sons will be the only people who could wear that moko.
4. What does moko mean to you?
One of the biggest reminders for me to keep on pushing, are my Moko & Tattoos. Everyday I have to carry these signs with pride, through the judgement, to never forget who I am & where I have come from, for that sets the foundation of where I am heading.
Sofia Minson's contemporary Maori oil portrait series:
Sofia Minson says she is "interested in painting creative and inspiring Maori people who are helping to evolve today's culture through their own artforms or roles in society."
Minson's contemporary Maori oil portraits, two of which are part of the November 22nd Parnell exhibition "Connecting Threads", are an ongoing series of works that explore the modern meaning of heritage for an indigenous culture living in a post-colonial society.
The artist, of both Maori and European decent, uses the traditional Western medium of oil on canvas favoured by Gottfried Lindauer and C.F. Goldie – 19th and early 20th century Western colonial artists who Minson says "took it upon themselves to record in precise detail, the 'vanishing race' of Maori. This was a belief commonly held at the turn of the century. I intend to use their medium to show Maori as being a very much living, evolving and creative people, inhabiting real and current time and space."
If you get a chance to stand in front of one of these large-scale, close-up oil works you will feel their powerful impact. The faces tower over you in size, grab your attention with their highly realistic eyes and at the same time soothe you with their smokey grey blended brushwork.
Minson: "This series is painted with a stark grey palette, which gives the work a very contemporary aesthetic, as well as alluding to old black and white photographs of Maori who were posed and adorned with status-defining feather cloaks, huia feathers, Ta Moko, pounamu and other taonga.
With these works I aim to redirect the ‘gaze’ of indigenous portraiture in two ways:
Rather than European colonial painters gazing upon Maori subjects, I, as a Ngati Porou artist, am depicting fellow contemporary Maori people. The gaze is now between Maori.
Goldie and Lindauer did a great service to the world by recording our tupuna in such beautiful and loving detail. However Goldie's subjects in particular, were embued with a sense of melancholy mainly looking downward, as if contemplating their disappearing culture and people. Instead, the subjects of my portraits look out of the canvas directly at the viewer with intense eyes full of presence and mana. Maori now have their power back and gaze outward at the world."