WE ARE BUT DUST AND SHADOW // MELANIE ROGER GALLERY // 2014

Three very different artists - TESSA LAIRD, RICHARD ORJIS and TIFFANY SINGH - weave their practices together in an attempt to find beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature.  These works are made from a desire to embrace natural cycles, accepting growth, decay and death. Tessa Laird divests the high-coloured ceramics of her work in and Freedom Farmers (curated by Natasha Conland for the Auckland Art Gallery 2013 - 2014) for more muted tones, investigating tree-filled ruins in sacred sites.  Tiffany Singh's recent McCahon House Residency dealt with death and the remembrance of loved ones; here she has softened her rainbow hues for works that are underplayed and modest, exhibiting the kind of quiet, undeclared beauty that waits patiently to be discovered.  Richard Orjis, whose photographic investigations can be lavishly composed, has produced a subtle suite of black and white works, which offer no more than fragmentary glimpses. Each artist has presented a new series of work, as well as working on a collaboration, Three Distinct Parts of the Shadow. Laird’s prints have been offered up for sacrifice, as Singh and Orjis have added their own layers of history, creating an exquisite surface of cicatrices.

Singh's The Bloom Of Time consists of a suite  of Nature Paintings.  Extracted and distilled from organic dyes the paintings are soaked and splattered with the halos and stains of floral pigment and natural plant dyes. Blooms growing through cracks in concrete have been immortalised through the ancient Japanese practice of Hapi Zome. These works are born through natures gift of time and are a snapshot of a summer in Raumati 2014.

Orjis and Singh’s ‘The Night Walked Down The Sky With The Moon In Her Hand’ Moon jar installation articulates the two halves on imperfection. Vessels to talk with the ancestors. Bearing fruits and containing presence, imbued with a romantic sense of simplicity. Dreams Of Other Worlds is a new collaborative work by Orjis and Singh speaking of serenity and escape, focused on the pleasure of making. The mindfulness of repetition is echoed in a collaboration with nature and the culture of the bees. As the work positions itself to reflect the words of D.K Suzuki from the book Into The light Of Things. To be satisfied with a little hut, a room of two or three tatami mats, like the log cabin of Thoreau”.

Like a branch representing the entire tree, shoji screens filtering the sun, or the moon almost completely obscured by a ribbon of cloud, Dust and Shadow is an investigation of beauty that is both personal and collective, quietly contemplative and alive.

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