'Re-appropriation' at PaulNache

Style of mid-1800s Maori folk art influenced Gisborne artist’s style in early years of practice.

Style of mid-1800s Maori folk art influenced Gisborne artist’s style in early years of practice.

HOUSE OF DIVINITY: Ruatoria-born Tawhai Rickard draws on Maori folk art, pop culture and reclaimed timber to create a collection of works that are on show at the Paul Nache Gallery. Four of Rickard’s works have since been accepted into the Sir James Wallace collection. Pictures by Mark Peters
CLOSE UP: A detail of a bowsprit in another of artist Tawahi Rickard’s works. The bowsprit is made from a piece of furniture but decorated with Maori patterns. Attached to it, a figure inscribed in another piece of reclaimed wood says in a speech scroll, “I’m the king of the world”, a line from the blockbuster Titanic.

Paul Nache Studio
Paul Nache Studio
Paul Nache Studio
Paul Nache Studio

THE year is drawing to a close but works by Tongan artist Uili Lousi and Gisborne artist Tawhai Rickard will remain on show a little longer at the Paul Nache Gallery.

The gallery closes on Christmas Eve but gallery owner Matt Clarke says Paul Nache will keep “skeleton hours” over summer.

A style of mid-1800s Maori folk art Rickard was familiar with as a child influenced the Gisborne artist’s style in his early years of art practice.

In recent years Rickard has returned to the colonial-European-influenced, “naive” style of painting he calls the Hinetapora style.

“It hearkens back to my ancestral house Hinetapora, east of Ruatoria. Figurative folk art painting from the 18th century features there.”

Rickard’s works in the Paul Nache collection, are suggestive of post-colonial Maori folk art but are combined with pop culture figures such as Batman and Robin. Ribbons of text known as speech scrolls (or banderoles) that feature in medieval paintings occasionally string from his characters’ mouths.

Some works include New Zealand’s navigational explorers Lieutenant James Cook and Tahitian navigator/artist Tupaia.

“The narrative speaks of the different connections Maori and non-Maori have to this land,” the artist told The Gisborne Herald in October, when his piece Here Together Now won the inaugural Te Ha art award.

Rickard likes to combine the older-worldly and the other-worldly in his work.

“When I create manaia elements in the work it brings in a spiritual dialogue. I try to create a dialogue that is kind of under the surface. It gives the viewer a chance to figure it out otherwise you’re spoon-feeding people.”

The collection, known as House of Divinity, at Paul Nache is made up of pieces created from assembled pieces of painted timber that could be parts of old furniture or skirting boards. In the vaguely recognisable pieces of carpentry is the whiff of the New Zealand villa and of furniture created from native timbers.

“I don’t try to hide what I use,” says Rickard. “I get a kick out of reclaiming native timber. I’m empowering it again from another cultural point of view. This is my re-appropriation. I use anything I can get my hands on that aesthetically fits the bill.”

The industrial bench-saw Rickard uses to run timber through has left circular marks suggestive of waves in one work. The effect is both incidental and deliberate.

“You create a piece then you stand back and think ‘I’ll use that’. You’re aware the machine can leave marks on the surface. At the time a lot of things can happen by accident and sometimes these can be the best things. You feel your way along. You might make a boo-boo then you stand back and think ‘that’s nice’.”



THE year is drawing to a close but works by Tongan artist Uili Lousi and Gisborne artist Tawhai Rickard will remain on show a little longer at the Paul Nache Gallery.

The gallery closes on Christmas Eve but gallery owner Matt Clarke says Paul Nache will keep “skeleton hours” over summer.

A style of mid-1800s Maori folk art Rickard was familiar with as a child influenced the Gisborne artist’s style in his early years of art practice.

In recent years Rickard has returned to the colonial-European-influenced, “naive” style of painting he calls the Hinetapora style.

“It hearkens back to my ancestral house Hinetapora, east of Ruatoria. Figurative folk art painting from the 18th century features there.”

Rickard’s works in the Paul Nache collection, are suggestive of post-colonial Maori folk art but are combined with pop culture figures such as Batman and Robin. Ribbons of text known as speech scrolls (or banderoles) that feature in medieval paintings occasionally string from his characters’ mouths.

Some works include New Zealand’s navigational explorers Lieutenant James Cook and Tahitian navigator/artist Tupaia.

“The narrative speaks of the different connections Maori and non-Maori have to this land,” the artist told The Gisborne Herald in October, when his piece Here Together Now won the inaugural Te Ha art award.

Rickard likes to combine the older-worldly and the other-worldly in his work.

“When I create manaia elements in the work it brings in a spiritual dialogue. I try to create a dialogue that is kind of under the surface. It gives the viewer a chance to figure it out otherwise you’re spoon-feeding people.”

The collection, known as House of Divinity, at Paul Nache is made up of pieces created from assembled pieces of painted timber that could be parts of old furniture or skirting boards. In the vaguely recognisable pieces of carpentry is the whiff of the New Zealand villa and of furniture created from native timbers.

“I don’t try to hide what I use,” says Rickard. “I get a kick out of reclaiming native timber. I’m empowering it again from another cultural point of view. This is my re-appropriation. I use anything I can get my hands on that aesthetically fits the bill.”

The industrial bench-saw Rickard uses to run timber through has left circular marks suggestive of waves in one work. The effect is both incidental and deliberate.

“You create a piece then you stand back and think ‘I’ll use that’. You’re aware the machine can leave marks on the surface. At the time a lot of things can happen by accident and sometimes these can be the best things. You feel your way along. You might make a boo-boo then you stand back and think ‘that’s nice’.”



Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you think tension between North Korea and USA will escalate to military conflict?