Elam Highlights

A selection of exciting projects and recent happenings from staff and students.

Creative Community: How art contributes to ecological issues

Senior Lecturer Jon Bywater
Senior Lecturer Jon Bywater

For Senior Lecturer Jon Bywater, being an art critic is a responsibility. Within Elam School of Fine Arts, this manifests through the encouragement and development of critical thought in his students; questioning and understanding art’s role in the world. This is coupled with a wider obligation to the community. "I believe in the potential of art," Jon says. "Not all art is good, but art has the potential to be good, and to do good. As an art critic, you're interested in drawing attention to things which are succeeding – sometimes through discovering new possibilities. I see it as a pleasure – and a responsibility, but a fun one."

Having served as a judge of the prestigious Walter's Prize several times in the last decade, Jon is bringing his expertise and a personal passion to the Estuary Art Awards, hosted by Uxbridge's Malcom Smith Gallery. The awards, now in their tenth year, are the only contemporary art prize in the country with a focus on ecological issues. This year, entrants were asked to produce a work responding to the Tāmaki Estuary in East Auckland. Jon was invited to adjudicate the awards through a professional connection, and keenly accepted. "I am personally interested in ecological issues, and in the question of how artists can respond to them," Jon says of why the awards appealed to him. "The issue of what it means to live in a place, to relate to a local landscape, never really goes away. It's a rich topic for artists to respond to. Having this as the purpose of the award gives it a distinctive character."

Art can play a vital role in wider ecological, social and political issues, according to Jon. "What role could art play, as a specialised minority interest activity, in relation to something as urgent and important as climate change, for example?" he asks. "The meaningful contribution comes through paying attention to the subtleties – new forms of feeling and ways of thinking can be presented." He cites French philosopher Bruno Latour, who has suggested that critique may have 'run out of steam' in relation to issues such as climate change. Therefore, the gravity of the situation needs to be delivered via different methods. Jon agrees. "Art itself is not going to save us, but it is true that art is a place where ideas can be developed and then further utilised in mainstream contexts."

For the Tāmaki Estuary in particular, there has been considerable local attention brought to the state of the waterway, its role and future within the local community. "There are some very well known facts about the issues facing the estuary," Jon says. "I might not have been personally familiar with the levels of zinc in the water, for example, but this is something else art can do; provide information in a different way. It may keep something at the forefront of our thought; it might remind us of something we had forgotten; or it might show us something we didn’t know or hadn't considered. My role in judging the submissions was to see how well these facts and issues were communicated." The works were each supported through an artist statement, giving Jon context and insight into the thought process of each artist, touching on how they believe their work could provide a meaningful contribution to the situation.

Jon reviewed over 90 entries via digital files, and selected 34 works for installation as part of the final exhibition. "There was a mixture of popular forms and genre-based work, some quite traditional and others very contemporary," he recalls. The Estuary Art Awards exhibition will open with an awards ceremony on 28 July, once he has had the chance to review the physical works in situ. "Certain pieces have caught my imagination and I am looking forward to my final consideration to see how they present in the gallery context,"Jon says of his impending final decision.

Jon will be speaking about the selected exhibiting artworks as part of a public programme in August. He is looking forward to engaging not only with the gallery public, but also more in-depth with the Tāmaki Estuary conversation. The community facet of the award is not lost on him. "It's important to me to be able to contribute to things like this," he tells. "I enjoy being involved with something which is based in a broader notion of art. It's important to recognise that good art can and is being made at a community level, and it has something to contribute to a conversation like this. The Walter's Prize may be the fine dining of the New Zealand art world, but that doesn't mean there aren’t satisfying meals being cooked at home," he laughs.

The Estuary Art Awards opening commences at 6.30pm, Thursday 28 July, where Jon will award the prizes. Be sure to follow Malcolm Smith Gallery on Facebook and Instagram for snippets of the exhibition and public programmes. For more information, visit the Uxbridge website.


Connectivity sparks early career success

Grace sitting in front of a collection of her paintings.
Grace Wright at the opening of Spearmint Fantasies in May.

The snowball effect speaks of something, initially small in significance, building upon itself, gaining momentum and increasing in size, substance and impact. For Elam alumna Grace Wright, since graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in 2014, opportunities have emerged exponentially as a result of her involvement in other projects. “I’ve been thinking a lot recently about connectivity,” says Grace. “Things happen because of doing other things, and you have to take those opportunities to promote yourself and your work.” As an emerging artist cementing her style, carving out her area of contemporary painting, Grace has made the most of the opportunities and connections which have come her way.

For many Elam students, the Grad Show is more than a celebration of completing their studies. It serves as an introduction of their work to the art world; a debutant moment attended by art lovers, critics and industry influencers. A few months after the 2014 Grad Show, Grace was approached by Warwick Henderson Gallery, who have traditionally represented more established artists. “I was emailed in the January following the Grad Show, saying they had seen my work and were quite interested. After they assessed my work in the flesh, I was picked up by them.” Grace feels honoured to have a gallery stamp of approval so early in her career. “It has been one of my biggest successes so far. I held a solo show, Spearmint Fantasies, at the Gallery and they represented me at the Auckland Art Fair, which was fantastic in terms of exposure.” Grace’s paintings at the Grad Show also caught the eye of known art writer and collector Warwick Brown, who recently included Grace in his five Kiwi artists to watch, following his column in House and Garden magazine last August which introduced her to a large readership. “It has all been really good timing,” Grace says. “It comes back to connectivity. Making a name for yourself is an evolving process which might take a while, but you’ve got to take the chances when they present themselves.”

A standout feature of Grace’s paintings is the colour. “The underlying concept of my work is visual pleasure, the pleasure of looking at something,” she says. “It’s quite light-hearted, rather than dealing with heavy conceptual or political work. It’s still underpinned by conceptual ideas however, and it is very process-drive practice.” She credits her four years at Elam for helping her explore depth and intellect in her practice. “It’s not about the finished product at Elam, or if it is aesthetically pleasing. Fine arts is much more philosophical than that; it’s the thinking behind it all.” She chose not to take the critical feedback and teachings from Elam’s experienced staff personally, seeing it as a way to prepare her for the realities of the commercial art world. “You need to see it as a learning experience; if you’re not making the most of the critique, you’re not making the most of art school.”

"Trials and Tribulations", 1200x1200mm, acrylic on canvas.

For better or worse, social media is an undeniable facet of any industry in the modern world. Grace has an active Instagram account, which she says suits her work. “Because of the colour in my paintings, it comes out well in photos and presents well on such a visual platform,” she comments. Her followers tripled after being mentioned on the Studio Home blog; resulting enquiries saw her sell all of the work produced during her time at Elam. “I feel like you have to have some sort of social media presence these days,” she says. “It works for me. I do believe that you need to be somewhere else as well, and I’m fortunate to have gallery representation. I wouldn’t rely entirely on social media, but it has served a good purpose for me and my work.”

It was her Instagram account which lead to another opportunity for exposure. This weekend, Grace will feature at the Make It, Made It conference in Newcastle, Australia, after being awarded the Honorary Speaker Prize. The organisers of the conference approached her after seeing her work on social media, feeling she would be a good fit with the other featured guests. Grace is looking forward to networking with other creatives. “The conference focuses on creative practices in general. Other speakers include a set designer, a jeweller, a media arts lawyer and installation artist, so there’s a lot of variety.” Given how the conference came about, Grace’s theme for her speech will be connectivity; how one thing often creates another, both in life and in practice. “There’s a theory that says ‘Painting exists in a network of connections we draw between other works’. You need to know where you’re situated within that, with your influences and conceptual ideas,” she says. “I’ve never done anything like this before, presenting about my practice. The process has helped me refine my ideas and I’ve had the opportunity to be quite reflective, which is always good.”

While hopeful additional opportunities arise out of the conference, Grace already has a few projects on the horizon for the rest of 2016. She is currently in the planning and conceptual stage for an exhibition with another Elam graduate Aiko Robinson in Christchurch in early 2017, and is discussing offers to show her work in Asia later in the year. These projects will be juggled around her job at Te Tuhi Gallery, where she works three and a half days a week in audience engagement and administration. “I was looking for something to allow me to be in studio at least half a week,” Grace recalls. “I didn’t want to compromise on my commitment to my practice, and working at Te Tuhi gives me the opportunity to remain immersed in the industry.” The role helps with financial stability, which is often an unknown for a fine arts graduate. “There have been a few tight spots, I’ll be honest, and it’s not easy to do this, but you find a way,” she insists. “You have to juggle other things to make it work, and if you commit to it, and love it enough, you make it happen.”

When the timing is right, Grace sees herself completing a Master of Fine Arts to advance her practice. “I enjoy the academic side of art, understanding why you do what you do. Artists don’t retire; it is a constantly evolving process, and I think I’ll know when I need that next level of thinking.” For now, her long term goal is perhaps suitably broad. “I just want to make a positive contribution to painting.”  After all, who knows how her career will snowball from here?

Visit Grace’s website: http://www.gracewright.net


Summer Research Scholars - Haidee Price

(b)athos II
(B)athos II-- Oil on canvas; Haidee's Honours work.

Summer Research Scholarship bring opportunity to build on Honours project for Elam student.

Haidee Price makes art about death. Just as there's no way anyone can run from death itself, it is pertinent to state her subject matter up front. "It can be a sensitive subject, but I believe it is very relatable. It happens to us all," she says. Since she was 15, she has been making art which reflects the interest and intrigue she has had around life ending and how that is mourned, celebrated and portrayed. Awarded a Summer Research Scholarship, Haidee took the chance to investigate the nature of mortality in a contemporary context, and how visual representations and attitudes towards it have changed over time. "I think it’s amazing that everyone has their own beliefs and systems of understanding, be it different religions, different ethics and morals or education, but at the end of the day, we all end up the same.

"This is an extension of my Honours project, which on reflection I feel I could've executed better. The scholarship was a good opportunity to have more space and no pressure, enabling me to explore my ideas a little more thoroughly," Haidee says of the chance to be reflexive and move her concepts forward. Spending the initial weeks of her research reviewing artistic portrayals of death throughout history brought some interesting insights. "I've looked at the idea of storytelling, starting with Greek myths and legends. They created amazing fantasies about things they didn't understand just to try and make sense of it. Then with gothic art, there was a sense of glorification and notion that death could be overcome. In the high renaissance they pieced their knowledge together and art was a good documentation tool for them. Death was commonplace in Victorian times, and if we come through to the World Wars, the notion of death changed again. Nowadays, it is changing once more. We see it on television regularly, both in fictional shows and confronting news stories."

Haidee's research has consisted mostly of readings and sketches up to this point, but she will produce a work which reflects her findings. "I take a lot of photos, and those images inform my paintings," she says of her process. "I will provide a report as to how my research has informed my practice, but the main output will be an artwork." The next stage of her research will see her explore various sites around Auckland for variety and contrasts. "I've tried to eliminate Christian iconography, as I have been brought up in a Western Christian surrounding, and that was a clear way of portraying death in the past. You can see death everywhere, not just in cemeteries, but abandoned places, where something has been lost, unable to be regained. It will be good to look broader," she anticipates.

Haidee has benefited from the knowledge of her supervisor, James Cousins. "He is a painter too, and asks really analytical questions about art in general. He asks me about what’s going on beneath the surface; what the intentions are, where it rests in a contemporary context, what movements it draws from. The responses prompted from his questions are great points to contemplate during the process."

While not ruling out further study, Haidee is leaving her future options open. "I would love to have my own practice and have a few shows at artist-run spaces. Perhaps selling prints online as well. I make my work for me, like a form of therapy. It’s not for anyone else, so it might not be feasible for me to be a commercial artist."

Simon Denny to exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery

15 October 2015

2013 University of Auckland Young Alumnus of the Year Simon Denny has been invited to exhibit at London’s prestigious Serpentine Gallery.

Simon, who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, is currently representing New Zealand at the 2015 Venice Biennale with his exhibition entitled Secret Power.

The artist has developed an international reputation for his diverse practice which employs a variety of mediums including sculpture, photography and video and often investigates the production, distribution, and consumption of media in an age of rapid technological change.

His exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery will open on 25 November 2015, just three days after Secret Power closes in Venice.  It will be the first survey of Simon’s work in the United Kingdom. 

The Serpentine Gallery offers only two shows per season, and is renowned for presenting world class exhibitions across all disciplines of contemporary art, architecture and design.

Examples of Simon’s work are held in major collections nationally and internationally and he exhibits widely. As well as representing New Zealand at the 2015 Venice Biennale he recently showed The Innovator’s Dilemma at MoMA PS1 in New York to critical acclaim.

His upcoming exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery will feature two large-scale installations, exploring technological organisational models in both hacker circles and commercial companies.

“We at Elam are thrilled by Simon‘s continuing success internationally. His work at Venice this year was a fascinating amalgam of objects and information, cogently installed and with both wit and sly critique. It was a vigorous and expansive work to experience in Venice’s Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana where it carefully recontextualised the human ideal of a repository of knowlegde in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s courageous revelations,” says Associate Professor Peter Shand, Head of School, Elam School of Fine Arts.

The Serpentine Gallery attracts up to 1.2 million visitors a year. Some 100,000 people are expected to visit the free Simon Denny exhibition which will run from 25 November 2015 until 14 February 2016.


Deputy Dean among first Fine Arts PhD with Creative Practice graduates


Dr Nuala Gregory celebrates graduation and looks forward to extended studio time in 2016.

Among the recent spring graduates was the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries' Deputy Dean, Nuala Gregory. Nuala has graduated after years of research into the history of contemporary painting, which is an aspect of her art practice that has always interested her. "Since I was an undergraduate, there have been questions and claims around the 'death of painting'," says Nuala. "Beginning in the 1980s, there was a supposed loss of relevance for painting in an age of advanced technology, screen imagery and so on. I had always instinctively felt these claims were misguided, and felt like doctoral study was the only way to resolve the uncertainty, and I quickly discovered these issues had barely been addressed."

Nuala commenced her PhD with Creative Practice in 2011, which uniquely offers the opportunity to incorporate creative work into research. Her thesis argued for the emergence of a new type of 'post-conceptual' painting. "My particular focus was on the sensuous experience afforded by painting, as a way of renewing our diminishing capacity for attentive embodied experience in a world dominated by information and communication technologies," notes Nuala. "We are in danger of no longer being able to see and respond to the simple materiality of the world around us, and painting can help redress that threatened loss."

She submitted her own works as an example of this development. "The PhD with Creative Practice is very demanding. As I produced my artworks, I was writing about the ideas that informed them; their background in history and art theory. I had to integrate my argument with a series of exhibitions of related artworks – it was almost like doing two PhDs simultaneously," Nuala reminisces. "However, there is one huge advantage. It forces you to place your work in a much broader and historical context, where its value can be both argued for and tested."

And Let me Breathe, an exhibition further developing her PhD works, is currently on display at the Solander Gallery in Wellington. "During the opening week, I held a morning-long seminar with local students, talking about my study and how artworks can engage with a range of contemporary ideas and audiences," Nuala recounts of her time in the capital. She has since received three further exhibition offers within the weeks And Let me Breathe has been on display.

With her PhD graduation celebration in late September, Nuala is now looking forward to 2016. Her study is continuing to inform academic papers and a series of exhibitions, of which some are already planned in Europe. During a six month research leave trip to the UK, she will spend significant time in studio. "That's a real pleasure for any artist – the chance to have a concentrated period of making artworks without interruption," she says. She is also looking forward to supervising future PhD candidates at Elam, allowing her to keep in touch with, and give shape to, the latest developments within the field of painting.

And Let me Breathe: Solander Gallery, Wellington, through to 24 October.

More on the PhD with Creative Practice


Elam Graduate Show

Image of a cultural performance work from the Elam GradSshow 2013
Sione Manu Finau Faletau | BFA(Hons) | Faka'ilo Poto | Elam Grad Show 2013

Students from across the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries will celebrate the culmination of the academic year with public events to reveal their work.

The Elam Graduate Show presents the work of the final year BFA, BFA(Hons), PGDipFA and MFA students of Elam School of Fine Arts. The exhibition, held 28-29th November, is open to the public and is often well-attended by many industry leaders, resulting in excellent exposure and networking opportunities for the students. 

For details on venue and opening hours, please visit the events page. 


Tribute to Colleen Urlich

Image of Colleen Urlich with some of her work.
Image: Creative New Zealand.

Elam would like to extend their sincerest condolences to the whanau and friends of Colleen Urlich, who passed away recently.

An Elam graduate, Colleen was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit earlier this year for her services to Māori art. As Dr Peter Shand, Head of Elam School of Fine Arts notes, "Colleen was a pioneer of Māori ceramic arts and her Masters thesis on the relationship of older and contemporary practice to Lapita pottery was highly regarded." He makes mention of her optimistic and positive personality which transferred into her practice and teaching. "She made a lasting influence on toi Māori, and her New Zealand honour was a reflection of this contribution as well as her warmth and aroha."

Peter sends his thoughts, and those of the wider Elam community, to Colleen’s family. "It is with deep sadness that we learned of Colleen's passing. We send our condolences and aroha to the Urlich whanau."


International Award for Public Art winner announced

Two images: the award winner at the IAPA dinner, and one of her award winning images of a couple at a small table outside in India.
Top: Jasmeen Patheja at the Award Ceremony Dinner, with Lewis Biggs, Chair of the Institute for Public Art (left) and Dean Wang Dawei, Shanghai University (right). Below: Detail from Talk to Me.

The second IAPA concludes with a ceremony dinner celebrating cities in a climate of change. 

An experimental art project designed to make society safer for women has won the 2015 International Award for Public Art. The project Talk to Me by Indian artist Jasmeen Patheja was named the winner at the award ceremony dinner, held at Auckland Art Gallery in early July. 

Talk to Me, started three years ago to draw attention to the significant problem of sexual harassment in India, was described by the judges as bold, compassionate and courageous. 

India’s public spaces can be unsafe for women and what the West calls sexual harassment is widely referred to as 'eve-teasing', a trivialising euphemism that makes light of the problem and reduces it to innocent play.

The project forms part of wider art practice started when Jasmeen was a student, which over the years has gained momentum becoming a nationwide community arts movement and prompting public conversations about sexual violence in India.

Talk to Me was originally staged in an isolated street in Bangalore nicknamed the 'Rapist Lane' where after dark it was common for men to hang out in cars or on motorbikes, drinking, harassing or molesting women who dared to pass.
For a month, helped by volunteers the artist calls 'Action Heroes', the area was renamed the 'Safest Lane' and events were held, including setting up tables and chairs and inviting men and women to sit down together and talk over tea and samosas. The focus was on empathy and on taking time to communicate with a stranger.

The discussions between men and women demonstrated how understanding and compassion can be gained if people have safe space in which to interact. Talk to Me encouraged people to reflect on their behaviour and face their fears and biases and to consider who they felt intimidated by and why. At the end of the encounter the 'Action Heroes' offered each participant a flower.

"Talk to Me shows how simply the first steps toward understanding one another can be taken, with the help of a few tables and chairs, some flowers, some snacks, and a willingness to try. We need to make ourselves safe by making other people familiar," says Jasmeen.

"It requires a purposeful unclenching of the fist. Fear creates fear. Defense creates defense. We need to build safe cities with empathy," she says.

As well as the 'Safest Lane' encounters, Talk to Me employs a variety of ongoing strategies to combat sexual harassment, including advocating for effective legal tools, staging theatrical public protests and using new technology to publicise offenses.
Talk to Me won the 2015 International Award for Public Art from a shortlist of 32 entries, of which seven were selected as 'highly commended' semi-finalists. These included projects as diverse as a floating school in Nigeria, a restaurant serving cuisine from countries with which the USA is in conflict, and a post-earthquake pavilion for the people of Christchurch.

Lewis Biggs, Chair of the Institute for Public Art and former director of Tate Liverpool and the Liverpool Biennial (UK) commented: "In recommending the seven projects selected to be highly commended, the jurors felt clear that these were outstanding examples of art-led place-making. While all seven projects could have justly taken the Award, Talk to Me caught their attention for its bold simplicity, its economy of means, its compassion and originality, and its courage in facing up to a deeply ingrained injustice within the prevalent culture in India."
The International Award for Public Art is a biennial prize for the most outstanding, contemporary, socially-engaged art project. The inaugural award (2013) was won by Venezuelan artist and architect Alejandro Haiek Coll, co-director of design collective LabProFab, for the Tiuna el Fuerte Cultural Park project, an inventive and community-focused redevelopmemt of an abandoned parking lot in Caracas.

Elam co-hosted the 2015 International Award for Public Art, in conjunction with Shandong University of Art and Design, China. The associated conference, Cities in a Climate of Change: Public Art and Environmental and Social Ecologies brought together artists, curators, urban planners, architects and museum directors from around the world to discuss art and its relationship to urban development.


Elam International Artist in Residence begins Memorial Project

Artist Kathy Temin assisted by Elam student Joseph Durana with the work for her upcoming exhibition.
Artist Kathy Temin assisted by Elam student Joseph Durana with the work for her upcoming exhibition.

Elam staff and students will help make, assemble and install large-scale sculptural artworks, planned for an exhibition by renowned Australian artist Kathy Temin at the Gus Fisher Gallery.

The celebrated artist, best known for her garden-like installations made from synthetic fur which explore ideas about art history, memory and loss, has arrived in the country to take up the position of Elam International Artist in Residence at the University of Auckland.

While here, Temin will be assisted by both the technical staff in the workshop and by a group of students from Elam School of Fine Arts, and mentor them during this process.

The exhibition The Memorial Project will occupy the entire space at the Gus Fisher Gallery. It will build on Temin's recent work referencing monuments and memorials as psychological spaces, where private and collective memory coincide. She employs the unconventional material of synthetic fur to combine the oppositional dialogue of remembrance with play; minimalism with sentimentality. The artwork will be site specific, ambitious in scale and divided into three separate spaces of remembrance, combining design, sound and sculptural interventions.

The child of a Hungarian born holocaust survivor - Temin's father was interned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp - My Memorial: Oral Histories: Budapest, The Buchenwald Boys and Poland, 2004-2015 combines documentary and factual information with personal history taken from filming memorial events and interviews the artist has participated in. She will create a sculptural space of reflection with the historical practice of memorialisation, to recall people, places and events from the past, to preserve history and memory and to highlight the courage, optimism and hope of these stories.

While resident in New Zealand, Temin will make the structures for the work and assemble them and undertake research for the show which includes interviewing holocaust survivors who migrated here.

"We are currently making the bases for the structure of the memorial wall, which entails drilling thousands of holes to begin the Chesterfield process, covering the panels with foam then with fur. We are filling trees with stuffing. Usually a project of this scale would take six months to a year to make but the planning and some of the sewing has been done in Australia, which has enabled me to do the second part of the production in Auckland," says Temin.

"Ten amazing students have helped combined with the assistance of Paul, Nick, Peter and the other technicians in the Elam workshop, and have been fantastic to work with," she says.

Temin, who is an Associate Professor and Coordinates the MFA programme at MADA, Monash University in Melbourne, exhibits globally, both in solo and group shows. She has previously been in residence at the PS1 Contemporary Art Centre in New York, and was the first artist in residence at the Govett Brestwer Art Gallery, New Plymouth during 1994.

Temin also participated in the International Award for Public Art Conference with a talk on The Holocaust Memorial and contemporary artistic practices.

Established in 1998, the Elam International Artist in Residence Programme brings talented artists from all over the world, and provides opportunities for learning about contemporary practice to Elam students as well as the wider creative community. The Elam International Artist in Residence Programme is generously supported by Dame Jenny Gibbs.

My Memorial: Black Wall and Oral Histories
Kathy Temin
Gus Fisher Gallery
74 Shortland Street
Auckland Central
9-24 October 2015
Email gusfishergallery@auckland.ac.nz



Window Curator now Artspace Artist in Residence

Cropped image of someone climbing up a short concrete wall - only legs are visible.
Tim Wagg, I would rather be the worst at something than the best, 2014, iPhone 5 camera (3:38 min).

Tim Wagg completing work to feature in Artspace New Artist show. 

The opportunity to work in a fully-resourced studio space is something Tim Wagg is looking forward to. As the Artspace Artist in Residence for July to September, Tim will have the Artspace studio, workshop, equipment and library at his disposal to help create new work and content for the Artspace New Artist show in December.

Tim graduated from Elam in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours), working in the moving image field. "It's such an interesting medium, with so much potential," says Tim of his practice. "So much can happen with it. You have image and sound that break down even further into captured footage, animation, text, music and dialogue, which can come together in so many possible ways and styles through the editing process." He also notes that it is often a far easier medium to work with, particularly in a city like Auckland. "Studio space is so expensive, and it's tricky to store things. With moving image, all you need is a laptop and a hard drive, essentially."

His stint at Artspace came about via their open application process, however Tim was known to the team at Artspace through his time volunteering there whilst studying, and more recently, as an assistant to Billy Apple through the Artist Alliance internship programme. "I assisted Billy Apple in organising and sourcing artworks for his retrospective at Auckland Art Gallery, but mainly helped with his parallel exhibition at Artspace called Suck. I was the person on the ground organising objects to be fabricated and installing the work. Artspace were definitely familiar with me," he notes. During his residency, Tim will explore different locations around Auckland and their relation to the body and movement.  

Beginning in his honours year in 2013, Tim has been part of the curatorial team at Window gallery, in the University's General Library lobby, working on the 'other side' of shows, rather than from the artist’s perspective. This experience has seen Tim interact with current Elam students and graduates, helping some have their first exhibition outside of Elam, as well as other artists whose work Window wanted to showcase to the general University population. After almost two years with Window, Tim is moving on and looking forward to the doors which his time with Artspace may open. "I will keep on making, keep taking my opportunities and see what happens. I will also look to take my work overseas at some point," he states.

The Artspace New Artist show will open in December 2015.

I would rather be the worst at something than the best, a short film by Tim Wagg, will be screened at the New Zealand International Film Festival as part of the short film selection Place Unmaking, curated by Janine Randerson and Mark Williams.

You can see more of Tim's work here



Andrew de Freitas - Nothing Anywhere

image of a man walking down the street, part of Andrew's exhibition
Photograph from the ongoing series 'Syzygies', December 2014. Courtesy the artist.

As part of the Auckland Festival of Photography, an Elam alumnus is bringing his work on campus after impressive international success.

After exhibiting across North America, Europe and South East Asia, Andrew de Freitas, a graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts, is preparing to come back to where it all began for him.

Andrew is bringing Nothing Anywhere to the George Fraser Gallery, where he previously exhibited as a student in 2008. A selected series of photographs, the project takes on meaning through each image’s relationship to the next and the passing of time. They are part of his ongoing project Syzygies which follows the time pattern of a lunar month. “It feels good to be involved again after a long time away from Auckland, and in a very different capacity to my first project,” Andrew says of his exhibition.

Andrew is currently a student of Peter Fischli at the Städelschule, a prestigious Fine Arts postgraduate programme in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Despite his international experience and tutelage, Andrew still believes his formative years at Elam had a lasting influence on his work. “The most significant influence from my studies at Elam was learning to devote significant time and energy to figuring out what exactly can be achieved in art-making," Andrew recalls. "Working in close proximity with other artists and students and maintaining an ongoing discussion around your work proved invaluable. Posing questions like why a project is worthwhile is something which persists for me even now.”

Find out more about Andrew and his work at www.andrewdefreitas.com



Jaimee Stockman-Young - Queering Ecologies

Installation artwork - plants inside glass containers.

Elam postgraduate student curated an exhibition as part of the Auckland Pride Festival thanks to a summer research scholarship.

Jaimee Stockman-Young was the recipient of a postgraduate progression scholarship over the 2014/15 summer months, working under the supervision of Jim Speers, Head of Elam School of Fine Arts (Acting), and Director of the Centre for Art Studies Linda Tyler, who oversees the Gus Fisher Gallery.

During this time Jaimee put together Queering Ecologies, an exhibition of local, contemporary queer artists which ran concurrently with the month-long Auckland Pride Festival. The majority of the seven featured artists were existing contacts of Jaimee's, including five University of Auckland graduates. The exhibition was held at Allpress Gallery in Freeman's Bay, and was co-curated by Chris Lorimer.

Through the relationship between our bodies and the natural environment, the exhibition questioned the idea of hetero-normative ecology and deconstructed the prevailing interpretation of LGBTTIF queer identities (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Takatāpui, Intersex and Fa'afafine) as unnatural. The exhibition saw visitors from different communities pass through, from art show regulars to those who identify as LGBTTIF.

"The Pride Festival was a great tool to generate the collective creative discourse that was happening around Auckland, with some events highlighting the distance we still have in the pursuit of acceptance and equity for different groups within the wider community and Aotearoa," Jaimee notes, highlighting the importance of the Festival as part of an ongoing national conversation.

Jaimee also curated Elam's recent involvement in White Night as part of the Auckland Arts Festival. She assists in coordinating the University's Projectspace and George Fraser galleries and hopes to complete her Master of Fine Arts qualification in 2015.