Gow Langsford Gallery has a long history of exhibiting at the Melbourne Art Fair. This year will be the first time however that the gallery has exhibited while having a permanent Australian base in the form of it’s new Sydney Gallery. Says director Gary Langsford – “We’ve exhibited with great success at the Melbourne Art Fair for fourteen years so felt it was time to spread our wings.“ The result was a new space at 2 Danks St, Waterloo that opened in late February. Exhibiting artists at the Melbourne Art Fair 2002 are Shane Cotton, Michael Parekowhai, John Pule and Karl Maughan.
The gallery has exhibited the work of Maori artist, Shane Cotton at the Art Fair for a number of years with many Australian collectors resulting. Cotton has gained a high profile throughout Australia with highlights including his inclusion in the 1999 exhibition Word at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and winning the Seppelt Award in 1998.
Cotton will paint new work continuing his exploration of cultural issues and a sense of place. The work has returned to the earth colours that characterize earlier works from the 1990’s. Text continues to play an important role but is supported by a strong return to figurative elements and the new development of the “camouflage kowhaiwhai” as a design motif.
Next to Cotton’s work will be new paintings by John Pule. Pule is a Nuiean artist resident in New Zealand since 1964. Like Cotton, Pule’s works look at his place and the place of his people in a multi cultural society. These works are stories of Pule’s family and the Nuiean people – the boats, the missionaries, the legends. Clouds of crimson float across the surface of the canvases connected by intricate ladders and delicate creeping vines. Christian missionaries are juxtaposed with mythological creatures. This is contemporary Pacific life with a sense of history.
After viewing the Pacific art of John Pule and Shane Cotton, viewers to the Art Fair will then step into an oversized surreal gardenscape by London based painter Karl Maughan. Maughan has often been asked if he is a photographer. At first glance his works do appear as such – enormous, larger-than-life size gardens filled to overflowing with flowers, leaves and trees. But, they are paintings - brushstrokes of oil painstakingly applied to form the super-realist impression of a photograph that surrounds and engulfs the viewer.
While living and exhibiting in London, Maughan is keen to maintain his links with New Zealand. “I just wanted to work in a bigger context. I still want to come back here and work and have shows. I didn’t want to just go overseas and forget where I’m from.” His foothold in both countries seems strong with continued exhibitions both in New Zealand and the United Kingdom and career highlights such as the acquisition of two works for the prestigious Charles Saatchi collection (UK) in 1997 and the acquisition of work by the Hayward Gallery in London in 1999.
Opposite Maughan will be new sculptural work by Michael Parekowhai, recent recipient of the Arts Foundation Laurette Award. Parekowhai has exhibited in Australia in both solo and group exhibitions, most notably being the Biennale of Sydney in June of this year. His new works are abstract minimal wall sculptures constructed from powder coated steel to resemble giant queasinaire rods much like those of the artists childhood - a recurring theme in Parekowhai’s work. (Gallery press release, 2000)