14 January 2009

A Slow Start

"Landscape is ultimately going to subsume us all, it's the inevitable destination of all living things. So it is almost an irony that landscape is one of the expected subjects for painters... I describe my works as an unnatural staging of the natural. There is also a contemplation of monumentality, in the sense that I make a lot of very small works but I"m also drawn to making something so big that it is part of the landscape, a sense of scale that is also a mechanics of play. And there's a desire to make something that has a time component... What we have initiated is what I call a permanent work in progress. I will be long dead by the time the work reaches fruition, when the plants are mature enough to flower goldenly and magnificently. So what I think I can justifiably claim is that what we are working on is the slowets art work in New Zealand."

So says John Reynolds, in his book Certain Words Drawn, about his earth works SNOW TUSSOCK, GOLDEN SPANIARD and Cordyline. The first two are part of a larger project employing artists, also including Gavin Hipkins and Jae Hoon Lee, to rejuvenate the heavily mined landscape of Macraes Flat. Cordyline is hidden on Alan Gibbs' private sculpture park at The Farm in Kaipara. There is a fourth earth work by Reynolds, which precedes these but doesn't seem to have been concluded. This was part of a bigger multi-disciplinary project about layering data on the Auckand landscape. The first of a proposed series of planted arrow formations should be growing somewhere around here at UNITEC.

Reynolds' comments on temporality ring true when visiting these works via google. Golden Spaniard is shown at a very early stage with what look like heaped tailings being gathered into a giant koru shape before being sculpted into a ziggurat form. The earth-moving is now completed but there are many years of growing ahead. In anticipation of potential future phases of Art from Space, we will start archiving these map images as they are updated for juxtaposition with later incarnations.

Bearing in mind the wiry motifs Reynolds now has self-propogating around the countryside, it's easy to also look at these two forms as an interesting pair of in-progress drawings HERE and HERE. And just for good measure, here is the inverted ziggurat of the still-functioning WAIHI GOLDMINE.

Image: John Reynolds, The Garden for the Blind, proposed detail of installation in Orakei.

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Art from Space is an exploration of art-related phenomena that manifests in interesting ways on Google’s aerial maps. It is also an experiment in curatorial practice; collecting, presenting and contextualising items in ways that users can explore, free of curator-imposed framing and sequencing. This blog is Art from Space’s developmental musings made public, where items are introduced to the project in real time, rather than awaiting the grand unveiling of a completed exhibition. Specific locations of interest are highlighted in CAPS and linked to a map for further exploration. Visit the mother ship HERE.