Creative Arts and Industries


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Academic staff at Elam have a wealth of experience and expertise in fine arts research.

Jon Bywater


Jon Bywater’s research interests relate to three broad territories: critical readings of contemporary art, with an emphasis on theories of politics and place; philosophy and critical theory; and, the relation between language and creative practice. His writing has addressed work in a broad range of media and artistic modes, and he is also widely published as a music critic. He has contributed to British and American periodicals including Art Forum, Frieze, Afterall, Wire and Mute, and national journals including Art New Zealand, Landfall, NZ Listener and Reading Room, as well as numerous monographs and catalogues. On the significance of place from a colonial perspective, excerpts from his essay “Interrupting Perpetual Flight” are included in the anthology Situation (Whitechapel & MIT Press, 2009) in the series Documents of Contemporary Art. Recent and forthcoming publications include a letter for Wellington-based artist Maddie Leach’s project “When You Find The Good Oil Let Us Know”, the chapter “NZ Art Can’t Exist” for a history of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, an essay “French Sticks” for a monograph on Warsaw-based artist Daniel Malone, and the piece “Too Many Records” for Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, the first installment of the Paraguay Press series The Social Life Of The Record.

Current doctoral supervisions:

  • Co-supervisor: Charlotte Andrew, "Evaluating and Adapting Participatory Art as a Process to Contemplate The Birdman Motif in New Zealand Rock Drawings"

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Lisa Crowley


Lisa Crowley works across a number of fields; photography, video and installation. Her research covers a range of topics including: the aesthetics of photography, with a particular focus on the relationship between the printed image and notions of subjectivity; and the complexities of Modernism, with a specific focus on the tensions between ideology and lived experience. Her practice uses description as a method which enables her to highlight complex dynamics within these fields of research. Crowley has exhibited both nationally and internationally in contemporary public Museums and Art Galleries throughout Europe and Australasia.

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Current doctoral supervision:

  • Co-supervisor: George Hajian, "Masculinity and the Male Exhibit."
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James Cousins


James Cousins works to prise open new sets of critical possibilities for painting. Unique to Cousins' approach is a practice that builds upon processes connected to post-minimalism and contemporary painting, mapping a convergence of figurative and abstract modes of representation. Over the last year, ideas exploring forming of painting as a space of transmission have opened new terrains...Spaces that seek to demonstrate a new phenomenology of information transfer, via a re-enactment and relocation of recycled images in different places and times. Recent works have conceptual and material links to fields of practice emerging in contemporary painting dealing with topics influenced by forms of information transfer.

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Current doctoral supervision:

  • Co-supervisor: Adrienne Ranson, "Picturing Buddhist Paradigms: a Practice for Mind Transformation."
  • Co-supervisor: Han Kim, "The Act of Drawing."
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Gavin Hipkins


Gavin Hipkins' research engages contemporary fine arts, photography and experimental film, including landscape traditions and postcolonial theory; digital montage and discourses of hybridity; photo and filmic experimental narrative structures. He has exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally over the last two decades, working primarily in expanded photographic series. Recent exhibitions and film screenings include: This Fine Island, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2011, and Armory Film, New York, 2012; Envisioning Buildings: Reflecting Architecture in Contemporary Art Photography, Austrian Museum of Applied Art and Contemporary Art (MAK), Vienna, 2011; and Unnerved: The New Zealand Project, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2010. He is currently supervising ten Master of Fine Arts studio and research portfolio candidates working in a range of contemporary and historic visual arts fields, including documentary photography, video, and emergent abstract painting.

Current doctoral supervisions:

  • Co-supervisor: Toby Raine, "Contemporary Meaning through Nostalgic Imagery."
  • Main supervisor: George Hajian, "Masculinity and the Male Exhibit". 

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Dr Lucille Holmes


Dr Lucille Holmes is a cultural theorist, writer, psychoanalyst and lecturer in fine arts at The University of Auckland. She currently researches and writes on contemporary art, art education, and the application of psychoanalytic theory to visual art practice. She is also an executive and founding member of the Centre for Lacanian Analysis (NZ), a member of the NZ Forum of the School of Psychoanalysis of the Forums of the Lacanian Field, and her editorial roles include Journal for Lacanian Studies and Cyborg Subjects: Discourses on Digital Culture. Dr Holmes teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and since 2001 has supervised masters and doctoral students in art therapy, art and performance art.

Recent doctoral supervisions:

  • Co-supervisor: Mark Harvey, "Performance, Test, Labour."

Current doctoral supervisions:

  • Main supervisor: Adrienne Ranson, "Picturing Buddhist Paradigms: A Practice for Mind Transformation."
  • Main supervisor: Jorge Santana Molina, "Towards a Subjective Realism."
  • Main supervisor: Julia Teale, "Easel Painting’s Malaise."
  • Main supervisor: Han Kim, "The Act of Drawing."

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Dr Simon Ingram


Since 2008 Simon has developed a way to build on and collaborate with abstract problems inherent to both painting history and science's attempts to plot living systems and cosmic radiation. More recently he has extended this by disrupting the technical-aesthetic framework central to his approach.

Recent doctoral supervisions:

  • Main supervisor: Isobel Thom, "Pathways of Oblivion."

Current doctoral supervisions:

  • Main supervisor, Toby Raine: "Contemporary Meaning through Nostalgic Imagery."
  • Main supervisor, Martin Basher, "Gates of Heaven: Beauty, Utopia and the Sublime in American Consumer Culture."

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Associate Professor Megan Jenkinson


Megan Jenkinson’s most significant projects to date are The Virtues, 1996, the accompanying publication Under The Aegis: The Virtues, 1997, and the Antarctica project, 2007. Other research interests include colour theory, perception, and notions of the material imagination as espoused by Gaston Bachelard, which she incorporates into her artistic practice through a dialectical approach to imagemaking. Her photography has been exhibited in major art events such as the Sydney Biennale, 1990, the Sharjah Biennale, 1999, and Photography Now, 1989, at the Victoria and Albert Museum (an exhibition commemorating the first 150 years of photography); and her work is held in twenty national and seven international public collections.

Current doctoral supervisions:

  • Co-supervisor: Deborah Lawler-Dormer, "A transdisciplinary investigation into the act of cognitive synthesis in the perception and participatory experience of experimental hybrid media installation."
Recent doctoral supervisions:
  • Co-supervisor: Tabatha Forbes, "Environmental Perception in Contemporary Art."

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Alex Monteith


Alex's recent large-scale performance-based projects have included Aotearoa surfing culture, acrobatic/stunt flight, helicopter alpine search and rescue flight, and motorcycle culture. Performance art issues are explored in relationship to contemporary cultural activities that are radically sensitive to geography. Within adrenalin and speed sports-genres, relationships of technology to the body, technology to territory and action to site are explored; including implications of on-board video culture.

Recent doctoral supervisions:

  • Maria Walls, "Casing the Joint: The Behaviour of a Medium – in Modo."

Current doctoral supervisions:

  • Main supervisor: Rebecca Hobbs, "Approximately Fifty-Three Performative Gestures."
  • Main supervisor: John Chrisstoffels, "Neo-Non-Place: Neo-Plasticism, Non-Place & the Film Set."
  • Co-supervisor: Joyce Campbell: "On the Last Afternoon: Making Art in This Time of Ecological Crisis." 

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p.mule et al


p.mule's research is mainly concerned with an exploration of the installation aesthetic in relation to persuasive/coercive methods ranging from the political and militaristic, through cults and fringe religious practices, to education, the internet and peer processes, institutional and otherwise (social solidarity). The research methodology is utilitarian, looking for the value (aesthetic or otherwise) residing in ready-made text, sound bites and incomprehensible, senseless or prosaic fragments – objects, acts, events, gestures, artefacts, music or text that often have an influence on political and social movements disproportionate to their intrinsic value. The et al. collective, through its installations, uses this research to isolate and re-juxtapose these fragments to explore the extent to which their meaning disintegrates or is re-created, perhaps in a completely different context.

Recent doctoral supervisions:

  • Main supervisor: Sharon Tengblad, "Binary Psychosis - A Visual Response."
  • Main supervisor: Dan Arps, "Towards a grammar of a gestural interdisciplinary art practice in a post-Fordist context."
  • Co-supervisor: Kate Newby, "'I’m so tired':  Art Beyond ‘Exhibitions’ and ‘Making Objects'."

Current doctoral supervisions:

  • Co-supervisor: Martin Basher, "Gates of Heaven: Beauty, Utopia and the Sublime in American Consumer Culture"
  • Co-supervisor: Roman Mitch, "The Artwork is Always Right: Found Logics, Interface and Agency"
     

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Professor Michael Parekowhai


Michael Parekowhai works across the disciplines of sculpture, installation and photography. Conceptual drivers for his research include: the ambiguities of identity; the shifting sensitivities of historical memory; the value of aesthetics; an appropriation and assimilation of an artistic cannon; the significance of biculturalism; and the fluid relationship between art and craft.

His work is held in significant public and private collections throughout New Zealand and Australia, as well as in permanent collections across the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. He has an extensive exhibition history, including: the Venice Biennale, Italy (2011); the Asia-Pacific Triennial, Australia (1999, 2006-2007); the Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2004); and the Sydney Biennale, Australia (2002). Michael received a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2001 and was awarded the Premier of Queensland Sculpture Commission in 2012.

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Associate Professor Peter Robinson


Peter is an internationally acclaimed artist whose research interests include installation, sculpture, painting and art education theory and practice. His recent work investigates both the materiality and metaphoric potential of his chosen medium. Whether it is the massive weightless volume of polystyrene forms or the densely contracted materiality of felt, Robinson’s sculptural propositions play out various oppositions such as density and lightness, dispersion and compression.

Recent doctoral supervisions:

  • Co-supervisor: Matthew Crookes, "Displacement – How Meanings Migrate."
  • Co-supervisor: Graham Fletcher, “Myth, Magic, Mimicry and the Cross-Cultural Imaginary.”

Current doctoral supervisions:

  • Co-supervisor: Julia Teale, "Easel Painting’s Malaise."
  • Co-supervisor: Jorge Santana Molina, “Towards a Subjective Realism.”
  • Main supervisor: Charlotte Andrew, "Evaluating and Adapting Participatory Art as a Process to Contemplate the Birdman Motif in New Zealand Rock Drawings".

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Associate Professor Peter Shand


Peter Shand’s research interests are: contemporary creative practices, principally art and fashion design, and the inter-relationship of art and law, notably issues in copyright and cultural heritage. He holds a PhD in Art History from The University of Auckland and an LLM in Intellectual and Cultural Property Law from King’s College, London. Recent publications include essays in Art New Zealand and for publications by the National Gallery of Victoria, Te Papa Press and Routledge, as well as catalogue essays on the work of Bepen Bhana, Nuala Gregory, Rebecca Ann Hobbs, NOM*d and Peter Robinson. Recent exhibitions include Assume Nothing: Six early career artists at the Gus Fisher Gallery (2012) as well as shows at Elam’s projectspace B431.

Recent doctoral supervisions:

  • Main Supervisor: Fiona Pardington: "Towards a Photographic Kaupapa of Ancestral Power and Talk."
  • Main supervisor: Sharon Tengblad: "Binary Psychosis – A Visual Response."
  • Main supervisor: Matthew Crookes: "Displacement – How Meanings Migrate."
  • Main supervisor: Nuala Gregory: "The Afterlife of Painting."

Current doctoral supervisions:

  • Main supervisor: Joyce Campbell: "On the Last Afternoon: Making Art in This Time of Ecological Crisis"
  • Main supervisor: Aindriu Macfehin, "Fidelity to the Artwork as Event."

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Allan Smith


Allan Smith is a writer whose research links languages of making and object ensembles with modes of subjectivity and ways of being in the world. He is particularly interested in following accented, emergent and improvisational materiality in the 19th century, the modern and contemporary eras through art, literature, technology and philosophy. This includes forms of urban alliteration; the geological imaginary; and temporalities of the sonic and visual fields. He has worked as a curator of contemporary art in City Gallery, Wellington and Auckland Art Gallery, and written about photography, painting, and installational practices.

Recent doctoral supervisions:

  • Main supervisor: Simon Ingram, "Painting as Machine."
  • Main supervisor: Paul Cullen, "The Chemistry of Familiar Objects."
  • Main supervisor: Justina Grober, "Delay: Mirror and Fold in the Visual Field."
  • Main supervisor: Graham Fletcher, "Myth, Magic, Mimicry and the Cross-Cultural Imaginary."
  • Main supervisor: Tessa Laird, "Rainbows and Kaleidescopes: The Revolution Will be in Colour."
  • Main supervisor: Kate Newby, " 'I’m so tired':  Art Beyond ‘Exhibitions’ and ‘Making Objects'."
  • Main supervisor: Tabatha Forbes, "Productive Contemplation: Environmental Perception Through Art, Site and Self."
 

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Jim Speers


Jim Speers is an artist who in recent years has worked in a range of media including sculptural installation, printmaking and digital video.  This has involved production and exhibition in New Zealand and Europe. Speers’ artwork is included in New Zealand’s significant public collections and has been placed in exhibitions by curators of high standing. He has worked extensively with prestigious galleries and has an established record as an artist undertaking commissions. He is presently engaged in research that aims to track and account for changes in the concept of the "readymade", as it has been explored through sculpture. As an educator he is committed to developing collaborative processes in teaching scenarios that allow students to define their work through dialogue and an exposure to the practice of others.

Current doctoral supervisions:

  • Co-supervisor: Aindriu Macfehin, "Fidelity to the Artwork as Event."

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Dr Ruth Watson


Ruth Watson’s research focuses on the relations of place and representation, especially the image of the world as constructed by cartography. Current research includes work in video installation, sculpture and painting, as well as published articles in the history of cartography relating to cordiform maps of the sixteenth century. Ruth’s career includes over 25 solo exhibitions and she has exhibited internationally at The Sydney Biennale, Frankfurter Kunstverein and Aktionsforum (Germany), The Asia Society Museum (USA), Gallery of Modern Art, Museum of Sydney and Museum of Contemporary Art, (Australia) Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Vienna), as well as the Institute for Contemporary Art, Newtown (Sydney).

Recent doctoral supervisions include:

  • Main supervisor: Clint Watkins: "The Amplified Experience."
  • Associate main supervisor: Janine Randerson, "Meteorology and Time-based Art Practices."
  • Co-supervisor: Jae Hoon Lee, "Nomad: Exploration of the Growing Body in a Global Relationship."
  • Main supervisor: Bridget Sutherland, "Far Off Town: Dunedin to Nashville."
  • Co-supervisor: Fiona Pardington, "Towards a Kaupapa for Kai Tahu Photography."
  • Co-supervisor: Dan Arps, "Towards a grammar of a gestural interdisciplinary art practice in a post-Fordist context."
  • Main supervisor: Irena Keckes "Mindful Repetitions: Ecologically Informed Buddhism and Contemporary Printmaking."

Current doctoral supervisions include:

  • Main supervisor: Sean Kerr, "Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing: Improvisation, Group Dynamics and the Interactive Within a Fine Arts Context."
  • Main supervisor: Roman Mitch, “The Artwork is Always Right: Found Logics, Interface and Agency.”

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Tara Winters


Tara has a background in graphic design and has worked as a freelance designer for many years in the areas of print and interactive media. Her main research interests include the study of the more fluid and dynamic forms of representation offered by digital technologies, and an active engagement with art and design pedagogy. Her work takes a critical gaze over the various forms of teaching and learning practices occurring in contemporary art and design education. Recent work includes the development of a structure for facilitating meta-learning in art and design education, and a system for helping international students in the creative arts with orienting to a new academic context.

Recent doctoral supervisions:

  • Co-supervisor: Irena Keckes "Mindful Repetitions: Ecologically Informed Buddhism and Contemporary Printmaking."

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