Friday, November 30, 2012

Dagmar Dyck
Beyond the Grid
By Kyla Mackenzie

Use the five days to do something different.  Grab a range of ideas to create fruitful directions and spin-offs.  These 5 days are not about pressure on you to accomplish ‘perfection’ but to push yourself in terms of ideas and approach... - Dagmar Dyck, Paintor and Summer School 2013 Tutor

Dagmar Dyck’s immaculate screen-prints were first known to this interviewer in the late 1990s.  She was a recent graduate from Elam School of Fine Arts and had a professionalism and sense of purpose which was most impressive.   In her distinctive, spartan images, a grid format with echoes of Bauhaus modernism was used to contain Tongan and sometimes German symbols and motifs.  These were informed by extensive research of both archival and contemporary sources.

Dagmar, daughter to a German father and Tongan/German mother is a scholarly traveller-artist-teacher who has made many trips to Tonga and Germany.  Recently, she has turned to painting and in a style which is loose, gestural and multi-layered.  As of this year, Dagmar has also taken up the full-time role of Art and Technology teacher at Sylvia Park School, Mt Wellington, in Auckland. 

Her Beyond the Grid workshop at the Corban Estate Art Centre’s 2013 Summer School will help participants form their own visual languages relating to identity where formal values are explored in an intuitive fashion, but one still informed by ‘order’.  This extremely busy artist takes time out to chat about her art and the upcoming 5 day course. 

Dagmar Dyck Surface Features I

KM: Dagmar, could you explain the title of your upcoming Summer School Class,   Beyond the Grid?

DD:  This title was actually a reference to my last show; the name marks my new own found freedom from ordered, formal compositions.  I want to demonstrate to participants in the Summer School course how it is possible to combine some measure of order with the intuitive, along with meaningful cultural objects to create dynamic, multi-layered imagery.
So, this is a way of allowing people to both free themselves up and yet apply a level of research and formal discipline as well?

Yes. I myself used to work primarily with printmaking.  Printmaking is such a careful process, a step by step, methodical medium; I think of this pedantic manner as the ‘German’ side of me!   For me, returning to painting is a departure from this close method to an evolving and intuitive process which does still necessarily requires some visual map of sorts.  The layering is such a challenge and a joy... each day, you put on another layer, so the work is an accumulative thing.

What sorts of motifs might people research and explore in terms of the 'traditional'?

This workshop is best geared towards research of repeating design, cultural objects and reference to textile patterns:  If you’re Irish, you could bring Irish motifs...If you have Scottish ancestry, bring those references and textiles that are meaningful for you.  Some other textiles might include saris, Middle Eastern design...Anything that is resonant for you and has compelling formal qualities – enough to enliven a canvas.  I own a great many Pacific books – for those interested in those resources–   I’ll be bringing in a lot of books... 

Reflect on, rotate and re-orient those designs to make your own iconographic language.  It’s a visual language you're creating; a visual story... 
Dagmar Dyck, Here she comes... Acrylic and ink on canvas and tapa cloth, 2250x1500mm

What does Dagmar Dyck's own visual iconography consist of now? 

I have always been interested in matters relating to 'belonging'.  I’m a New Zealander; I also have both Tongan and German heritage.  Much of my art has been about ‘self’.  How do I ‘fit’? 

In recent years I have explored traditional Tongan textile design - women’s bark cloth production called koloa.  However, as I approach my 40th year milestone, I’m loving       a confident new shift, a new area of enquiry beyond the old concerns.  Those motifs I’ve used are becoming increasingly abstracted; it’s more about art for art’s sake          now... exploring formal values...I’m really enjoying this.... The funny thing is, this is how I painted at school.  It was always my style.  I’ve had to re-learn it, which is ironic. In art school – you learn a lot, you have to learn, but it’s all very conscious.
What are some of the procedures of the workshop the participants can expect?

I’m looking forward to working on something side by side with people; this is a really effective way of teaching.  It will be a hive of activity and imagery as they should have two or three paintings going at the same time, which will all be drying at different rates during the layering process.   Acrylics are pretty good in terms of drying time though.  This multi-work approach is great in that they can choose new palettes for each and we’ll talk a bit about that.   I’ll address some issues in colour theory but also intuition will play a major role in the course.  I personally like to use Tapa cloth in my works but to simulate the feel of textiles and fiber there are other ways, such as tissue paper and I'll be demonstrating this. 

What kind of attitude should students bring?

An attitude of openness and acceptance...  Please don’t expect some perfect, ‘pretty’ work to go with your lounge suite...  It’s important to explore, be open to ideas; unresolved works at the end of the five days are o.k.  Painting can be unpredictable and there will be happy accidents along the way and challenges to work through. 

What do you want the Summer School participants to gain from the 5 day course?

I want to help others explore their own visual language in a layered, accumulative way.
It’s an exciting experience and a workshop is a really rich environment to ‘work’ things out. 

Bring ideas, notes, objects, reproductions... I don’t want reproductions or clones of my style; it’s about the participants, their voice and their symbols and story.  I want them to generate avenues of thought and approaches to weaving together both iconography and abstract values in a way that is meaningful for each person. 

Use the five days to do something different.  Grab a range of ideas to create fruitful directions and spin-offs.  These 5 days are not about pressure on you to accomplish ‘perfection’ but to push yourself in terms of ideas and approach...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Shopping Night
Corban Estate Arts Centre

We are delighted to invite you to join us for a night of wine and cheese and enjoy live music while you shop and receive an exclusive 15% discount off* all purchases in the gallery shop, for one night only! We have an excellent selection of gifts from local and NZ artists ranging from jewellery, ceramics, textiles, glass, prints, books, cards and more.

* 15% discount excludes gift vouchers and exhibition pieces

Location: Corban Homestead Galleries. 2 Mt Lebanon Lane, Henderson Auckland
Date: Thursday 6 December 2012
Time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Find the perfect, creative and artistic Christmas gift for your loved ones in our Gallery Shop!

For more information visit our website

Monday, November 26, 2012

Stephen Woodward
Between Sculpture & Installation

By: Kyla

"It's a week of immersion in something really enjoyable and stimulating in terms of creative energy.  Those 5 days are going to be fun..." -  Stephen Woodward, Sculptor and Summer School 2013 tutor.
7 After th rain. 2011,Marble , 330cm x 170cm x 110cm
 When speaking to Steve Woodward about his upcoming workshop Between Sculpture &Installation, he is almost flippant about his impressive range as a sculptor, both in terms of medium and concept, and his demand here and overseas.  Yet the evidence is around us in the many intelligently conceived and exquisitely produced sculptural commissions dotted around Auckland.  The droll but slightly wistful Kuri Topiary at Auckland Botanic Gardens; an ode to the native New Zealand dog of pre-colonial times, the stepped and suggestive Touch Stone outside St Patrick's church in Auckland central, and the impressively constructed Wai Tahurangi Bridge over Waikumete Stream, Waitakere. Many of his significant and beautiful public site specific commissions are overseas, particularly in Taipei and China.

Born in 1957 and raised in Montreal, Canada, Woodward spent two years in a Fine Arts degree at Concordia University. However, he curtailed his studies abruptly with all the huffiness of what he describes as “the arrogance of youth”.  Disillusioned by the political realities of Quebec, he left for Europe where revelations awaited...

Before heading off to the Shanghai Bienalle to unveil his latest sculpture, Steve responds to questions about his career and upcoming Summer School 2013 course:

A big foot

KM:  Steve, so why, after art school, did you choose sculpture as opposed to painting?

SW:  As a young man  I didn't have any pretensions of being an 'artist'.   I got really impatient with the pace of art school and wanted to go my own way.  I wasn't happy generally about the political scene in Montreal; there were issues with forced deportations of immigrants...  So, I took off to Europe -  and have no regrets.

Furrows from Growth, Taipei city Hall station

What were some of your first European experiences?

Early on I ended up at a ceramics kiln making Sicilian carnival masks.  What a wonderful time...  I was just immersed in the Greek past which was overlaid by the Italian culture and language of the present.  I was surrounded by all the Greek Doric temples and other physical evidence of the classical age, the myths and legends attached to Sicily and Mt Etna... At that age, it was all so new and I was just like a sponge, I couldn't get enough!

Pet Making 6 2009, granite. 120cm x 72cm 39cm

How did you end up working with stone in that early 1980s period?

It was pure accident I ended up working in stone.  I had worked in bronze with the modernist sculptor Mario Negri first.  He came from mountain region above Milano and was a wonderful humanist….he had survived the War and the concentration camps...and was a very interesting man.  After that I was headed for a bronze foundry to earn some money; however it was closed. Luckily and unexpectedly I found myself a place as a journeyman with the marble sculptor Sem Gherlardini, in Pietrasanta.

By this time I had acquired a rough and ready Sicilian style of Italian...  I think I had an 'in' with Gherlardini partly because his former mistress had been French Canadian, as was I!

Stephen Woodward Step touch stone, granite, 410cm x 150cm x 50 cm
 How was it working with Gherlardini?

It was quite an environment.  Gherlardini produced sculptures for a lot of big stars; Henry Moore for example....And the atmosphere: love and passion, tradition, most sculptors were communists or anarchists – it's a whole package over there...and there was not much room for ambiguity....

So what a contrast it must have been coming to Gisborne, then to France for two years then, then back finally to New Zealand - a tiny town in the Waikato!

It was a wonderful contrast of experiences, the warmth and sea of Gisborne, France where our first child was born, and then the Waikato - which for me, is so rich, visually and historically.  The shapes of Māori Pa sites....overlaid upon in only recent years...and the sense of how differently those lands and rivers are perceived by the spectator.  A lonely place, yes but the landscape was absolutely thrilling; everything denuded for these sheep farms... And all the turbulence of the volcanic landscape there for you to see; as frozen motion. 

Binary 3
You explore a lot of environmental themes in your work but overall there is quite eclecticism in your body of work...

I don't have a proper fine arts training which tends to push people to be constant, rigorous, and fixed perhaps – it may cut down on a certain freedom.  I tend to return to ideas over a period of time usually, but I'm very curious and wide-ranging.  I tend subvert the approach of what ever work came before the current piece, go against, in some way, what has been done before. 

You’ve sculpted with an impressive range of materials and extensively with stone which is the medium of your upcoming workshop.  There must be quite a range of variables that different types of stone present?

You've got to find solutions for each and there are tools nowadays to deal with each material...some stones can be polished easily, others cannot; some can submit to use in horizontal elongated format...others cannot.

Detail of Birth Raise
What do you love about stone? experience that it gets under people's skin...  People off the street get labouring jobs working with stone in construction and fit-outs and they stay and stay....[Working with stone is] noisy and dirty…but there is so much interesting stuff to find out; and every piece is going to be different and each kind of stone has properties of its own.  It has such a historic quality – it was the first material used in sculpture apart from clay...

Stephen Woodward
What do you look forward to most about the week-long Summer School workshop?

I'm looking forward to the variety of ideas that people bring.  I'm open to everyone...and their vision.  Everyone's going to have a different angle.  I'm personally interested in so many ideas and approaches myself.

There will be people that come to learn the trade of stone carving and I can show them a number of ways of working having worked in so many areas....

It's a week of immersion in something really enjoyable and stimulating in terms of creative energy.  Those 5 days are going to be fun...

What do you want the Summer School participants to experience?

I'm pretty relaxed but I do want people to work, communicate with me and talk to each-other.  It's all levels which makes it so interesting, there's no pecking order and you can feed off each-other.  It is a week in our lives; don't expect to have a finished piece necessarily…

I most want them to see that there's a wide variety of visual languages just as there are a wide range of personalities...and to introduce them to the endless possibilities...

Each person has to be able to visualise it - their sculpture – 'see' it, and feel confident about creating it in its entirety and I will guide them through that...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Jennifer Mason
Physical Structures
By Anna Doran-Read

“There is no better place to test out these ideas out than in Photoshop. This way I could trial ideas of secret spaces without having to deal with the problems of physically altering space” - Jennifer Mason.

Physical Structures features Jennifer Mason’s digitally altered interiors of houses found in removal yards. Her Photoshop manipulation of scale and perspective transforms these vacant relics of suburbia into puzzling arrangements of space and geometry.

These digitally renovated rooms disorientate our sense of what is real and familiar. Mason manages to create patterns and spaces in places that do not exist in the original rooms, by repositioning architectural elements in a given room she constructs secret rooms and hidden dimensions. “There is no better place to test out these ideas out than in Photoshop. This way I could trial ideas of secret spaces without having to deal with the problems of physically altering space” - Jennifer Mason.

The use of Photoshop is obvious, Mason does not cover up the architectural makeover she has instigated and this is unlike the graphic programme’s usual application that often retouches illusion to appear ‘real’ in seamless ways. Mason likens this approach to the Modernist painters who did not hide the material qualities of paint.
Looking at these photographic works is like seeing into a kaleidoscope, turning the world into a jumble of shapes and patterns. This ‘cutting and pasting’ of multiple angles ties back to the Cubist art movement showing that there is more than one way of seeing at one time. Mason creates a kind of alternate reality by transforming three-dimensional spaces into two-dimensional images and again into multi-dimensional Physical Structures.

Artist bio

Jennifer Mason is an Auckland-based artist that is currently completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at Elam. Recent exhibitions include St Paul St Gallery, ProjectSpace B431 and Pah Homestead; and art projects include the Te Tuhi Billboard project, Bledisloe Walkway Light Boxes: An Auckland Council Public Art Project. In 2012 she has been a finalist in both the 19th Annual Wallace Art Awards, 2012 National Contemporary Award and is the winner of the Walker and Hall Waiheke Art Award. Mason’s work can be found in the Wallace Arts Trust collection.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Explored through drawing and photography in 
Corban Estate Arts Centre's Summer Exhibitions

17th McCahon House Artist in Residence Kathy Barry will present her post-residency exhibition of graphite drawings Tickets To The Paper World in conjunction with Jennifer Mason’s photographic documentations of vacant domestic interiors in Physical Structures at Corban Estate Arts Centre from 16 November – 20 January.

Kathy Barry’s graphite-drawings engage the formal language of geometric abstraction and provide a sense of both construction and unravelling, folding and unfolding. These drawings couple finely rendered detail with visual paradox, which speaks to drawing’s ability to contain both the concrete and the ineffable.

Physical Structures by Jennifer Mason features digitally altered interiors of buildings found in ‘house for removal’ yard. The manipulation of scale and perspective transforms these dull relics of suburbia into bewildering experiments of space and geometry: “Her Photoshop manipulation is not unlike a house of mirrors where disorientated and warped versions of reality both beguile and bemuse.” (Bruce E. Phillips)

On Saturday 17 November, artist Kathy Barry will present a public exhibition talk, followed by the curator’s tour of Jennifer Mason’s Physical Structures.

In addition to these two solo exhibitions, Corban Estate Arts Centre’s Annual Affordable Art Exhibition is on display 16 November – 6 January, with artists invited to submit artworks for the annual affordable that work within the colour palette parameters of the monochrome – that is, artworks which feature either one colour or shades of one colour. Artworks explore the potential of colour in this exercise and investigate the significant heritage this technique has in art history. This is a cash ‘n carry exhibition and is aimed at being affordable to visitors over the Christmas period.

To find out more about these exhibitions and Corban Estate Arts Centre’s ongoing activities, programmes and events visit: or contact us at: or by phone at (09)838 4455.  
Corban Estate Arts Centre is open seven days a week, from 10am to 4.30pm except for public holidays and over the Christmas/New Year period.