First year Whitireia students studying on the Visual Arts and Visual Communication strands of the Bachelor of Creativity have had the opportunity to present their work with Pūheke-Flow-Flux, an exhibition in their new studio on the fifth floor of Te Auaha.
Curated by tutor Natalie Smith, the exhibition's work is a collective response to the concept of 'hard and soft,' which has been explored through a range of media including jewellery, painting, printmaking, drawing and digital design. The experimental studio works are the first to be created in Te Auaha, marking a significant symbolic step for the new building, and for the visual arts and design programme following its move from the Porirua campus to Wellington.
The selection of two dimensional artworks, pinned to the workstations lined across the room, include a cross section of portraiture, landscape, figurative and graphic design by Annie Smith, Dayna Paora-Quirk, Davin Richardson, Natasja McHenry van Veelen, Katherine Pei, Vavao Leafa, Nickie-Marie Campbell and Zoe Chen Zhiying.
The eye is immediately drawn to Annie Smith's work, Urban Jungle, in which leaves have been hand cut and stitched onto paper, gradually drying and decaying in a commentary on environmental ecosystems and the effects of urbanisation on the natural world. Smith's meticulous process is described by her curatorial namesake as a "delicate and thoughtful response which is highly sophisticated in its execution."
Jewellery from Rosie Grocott, Jessica Wu, Milo Meldrum and Jianan Li is arrayed in display cases in the centre of the space, with Meldrum's selection of rings being notable for its consideration of materiality. Her Materialise collection draws on the transformative qualities of titanium and its responsiveness to heat, with the work being described by Smith as a "playful contrast of hard materials and organic forms."
Smith believes the success of the exhibition is in the artists' diverse interpretation of their collective theme, achieved through a contrast of materials, imagery and current conceptual ideas.
Pūheke-Flow-Flux, 14-17 May 2018, in room 5.09, Level 5, Te Auaha, 65 Dixon Street, Wellington.