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WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - March 22: Big Day Dowse 2015 March 22, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand.  (Photo by Mark Tantrum/ mark­lage seems a use­ful meta­phor for con­tem­por­ary life in the digit­al age.

A col­lage dis­rupts accep­ted mean­ings by tak­ing found images clipped from their ori­gin­al con­text, then mix­ing them up and rearran­ging them. It’s hap­pen­ing around us con­stantly across all media. Cur­at­or Sian van Dyk provides a small sur­vey of the prac­tice in Cut + Paste, on at the Dowse (until 14 July).

In the largest room of the show, a string of lady legs cut from girlie magazines wiggles up the wall in Jo Russ’s clev­er work Draw­ing with Legs (2015). Witty and care­free, the legs kick about in a joy­ous release from their bod­ies. It’s almost an anim­a­tion. Russ is one of those artists to keep your eye on.

At the oth­er end of the room, Tjalling De Vries’s Come on Doll Face (2012) has a car­toon Doll Face fall­ing back­wards through a paint portal to a par­al­lel uni­verse — an updated Licht­en­stein. Come on Doll Face makes good con­nec­tions with the nearby Jac­queline Fraser, He says John Bok’s a proph­et honey (2007), and Robert Hood’s Tele­plas­mic mass — Prince (2007). Wow, the Jac­qui Fraser work is stel­lar. Using media-sourced images enhanced with actu­al mater­i­als, it high­lights the beau­ti­ful hol­low­ness of media imagery. Hood’s work, mean­while, is an actu­al Prince album cov­er with a speech or vomit bubble made of yel­low plastic shop­ping bags spew­ing from his mouth and over­tak­ing the whole image. Mys­ter­i­ous but compelling.

That was my favour­ite corner of the show. On the oth­er side of the Fraser are a couple of hil­ari­ous works, The Prince of Right and Wrong (2015) and Love is love is love… is love?, a col­lab­or­a­tion between Wayne Youle and Ans Westra. Youle is hil­ari­ous though, and in this col­lab­or­a­tion he really works his funny stick. Over two of Westra’s black and white pho­to­graphs of the 1998 protest out­side Te Papa against the Vir­gin in the Con­dom, Youle has applied brightly col­oured vinyl to give the protest­ors holy gowns and halos. It’s puerile and all that, but the res­ult­ing imagery has an ador­able Mex­ic­an folk qual­ity, and once I real­ised what the protest was about, it was a good smirk­ing moment.

            Cut + Paste is full of great work and all tastes are catered for. There is even a room with quite min­im­al­ist abstract works by artists such as Claire Har­ris and Richard Bry­ant beside Rob Cherry, Adrienne Mill­wood and Gor­don Walters.

The cent­ral space of the exhib­i­tion fea­tures ‘Epic Col­lage’. Peter Mad­den is the King of Epic Col­lage. He spends a lot of time cut­ting things out of Nation­al Geo­graph­ic magazines. But boy, it’s worth it. The Last City (2011) is dreamy. It’s a 3D met­ro­pol­is built of balsa wood and inhab­ited by flocks and herds of tiny 2D anim­als and birds. It sparkles in a night sky kind of a way.

And I haven’t even men­tioned the Daniel Crooks’ work — a wall-sized video col­lage. Don’t miss that.


May Art

This month, City Gal­lery Wel­ling­ton shows an inter­est­ing suite of exhib­i­tions — Jono Rot­man: Mon­grel Mob Por­traits, Alberto Gar­cia-Alvarez: Cross­ings, and Can­dice Breitz. Rotman’s large-scale pho­to­graph­ic por­traits of Mob mem­bers are con­front­ing and fas­cin­at­ing. Cross­ings provides a look at work by a little-known New Zea­l­and-based artist. Can­dice Breitz presents three major video install­a­tions by this South Afric­an artist, includ­ing the spec­tac­u­lar 16-chan­nel work King (A Por­trait of Michael Jack­son) (2005).[/info]

Mary-Jane Duffy

Mary-jane is a Paekakariki-based poet and essayist, and FishHead's art columnist. She teaches poetry and academic writing on the Whiyireia Creative Writing programme, torturing students with half-rythmes and pantoums, zombie haiku, and line breaks, referencing and structure. Duffy has a background in museum and gallery work, making a lucky escape from the basement of the City Gallery Wellington in 2002 and opening the Mary Newtown Gallery with Paula Newtown in 2004. Art (across all the disciplines) feels like the closest thing she has to religious experiences - seeing, reading or hearing things that make her brain fizz.

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