Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Elliot Collins
By Kathryn Tsui

Artist Elliot Collins latest exhibition is based loosely on The Odyssey by Homer. Through the interplay of text, sculpture and photography Collins visually relocates this classic story to take place within the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, representing his on-going interest in the perception of New Zealand as a vibrant place for exploration and discovery.

Argonauts (2013) refers to the great ship Argo, that took the warrior Argonauts to Troy. Ironically Collins has reframed the Optimist, a single handed sailing dinghy into the Argo. The Optimist being a common sight around Auckland’s coast line as countless New Zealand children have their first sailing experience in this boat. Now, as individually hand painted brooches the Argonauts (2013) become a talisman or portable artwork that can be travelled with. 

Situated on Great Barrier Island within the Hauraki Gulf are the two photographic works and map work. In the two photographic works there is a sense of isolation and entrapment that comes from island life, of travelling from place to place. Collins has taken two different perspectives of the island, that of looking outward at dawn and inward at daytime. Follow me to Great Barrier Island (Aotea Island) (2013), is from a series of 60 nautical charts of New Zealand’s coastlines and features the Twitter instruction to ‘Follow Me’. 

Communication is a founding interest for the artist and he is well known for his lyrical text based paintings. In Hermes (2013) the words are less poetic and more code-like, alluding to the simple coding that underlies both nautical communication and current forms of social media.  Hermes is known to be the messenger between Greek gods and humans, and this work will be interactive between the artist and the viewer, as the show progresses he will randomly change the message.

Tempest (2013) a work of suspended poles further signifies visual codes of nautical travel.  The banded poles symbolise tidal markers which can mark the safe or unsafe passageway through measuring water levels. Collins paints grey stripes as a colour cue for storm clouds since the word tempest is a synonym for a natural storm.

By focussing on the epic trials of Odysseus as he makes his way home after the fall of Troy, Collins combines concepts of mythology, adventure, travel, navigation and communication.

No comments:

Post a Comment