Thursday, January 31, 2013


Regan Gentry
 by Anna Doran-Read 

“New Zealand just kept appearing to me as a landmass with a diabolically violent past.” - Regan Gentry 

Regan Gentry has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Otago Polytechnic. His exhibition Floating is currently on at Corban Estate Arts Centre until 24th February.
In Floating, Regan has created a portrait of New Zealand as a “geological phenomenon.” He has used the unconventional material of pumice and played with its lightness and thermal characteristics. He has used pumice as a metaphor for the way our country “turns itself inside out continually,” like in the 1931 earthquake in Hawke’s Bay and the more recent Christchurch quakes: “New Zealand just kept appearing to me as a landmass with a diabolically violent past.”

Regan sees Place as the starting point for his work. The Place being exhibited in the Corban Estate Arts Centre gallery in New Zealand, which has been achieved by Regan’s inclusion of iconic Kiwi objects, such as a chilly bin, frisbee and inflatable tyre, which are often used at the beach, lake, pools or down by the river. Regan has brought the outside inside, making the art gallery just as much a place of exploration and discovery as these places we frequent throughout summer. Regan’s main focus in his art practice is to “expose the everyday ... to present the place we live in as a place of theatre and beauty.” 

Floating is a continuation of Regan’s “investigations of place through locally relevant materials.” Regan strived for light-heartedness in his exhibition, in terms of the objects he has made. He also hopes that visitors will see “a sense of vulnerability and instability represented through stone, when stone often represents solidity and security.” Pumice is porous, resulting from immense pressure and dramatic change during its creation. Unlike other rocks, pumice floats on water, as do the objects in Regan’s exhibition. The idea of floating came about during a period in his life when he was “at a bit of a loose end” with his art practice after returning to New Zealand after living in Holland.

When asked by curator Kathryn Tsui, what the main influences on his art practice are, Regan’s response was “living is my influence.” Regan gets many of his ideas from everyday conversations and his own curiosity. “As to movements I’m influenced by or could be part of… I’m not sure… I don’t read enough to know where I fit. All I know is my practice fits well with me.”

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