Sunday, July 31, 2016

Pleasant Street - Cat Fooks at Anna Miles Gallery

What's that view about? Looking through a window of gloggy plop dash splash opportunity, and such intense, sometimes alarming colours, somehow fun and harmonious in a natural fashion, too. Cat Fooks' work never ceases to surprise and amuse me. Sometimes bemused as well, pleasantly lost for ages in these compelling works, wondering what to make of them. Unable to stop regarding each densely painted window-like piece in this case, as if they're demanding I figure something out.

Fascinating exhibition at Anna Miles Gallery, 20 Upper Queen Street, mud pies meet buried treasure and excited, rich painting.
O and also, it's a magical mystery to find the gallery, cleverly tucked away. But behind 20 Upper Queen Street, (a line of pale apartments), is another line of apartments, with Anna Miles Gallery being the one with "Gallery" painted on it in black, and 10/3 I think it was. So welcoming there nevertheless, with such refreshment for the art-starved mind and heart. Opening night a fabulous bloom of conversation. But if you wanted respite, then out on the balcony a stunning view of Symonds Street graveyard, so restful yet dramatic in Victorian dĂ©shabillĂ©, (looks like a film set dressed as a ruin but also quite true and sombre, respectful).
Another exhibition, this shot, but you can see the fine gallery, part of it, the  balcony and graveyard here.

Excuse my vagueness about street numbers by the way, I've been assisting a friend with recovery from illness - rather tiring. But enough of my complaints, on with the art.
Paint paint paint, so much painterly paintingness, Fooks presents gobs and blobs and layers, and mysterious objects entirely subsumed. Seems as if the entire art object is paint, and gorgeous, scary, dynamic stuff it is too. 
Yes, yes, painting died and came back to life some time ago, a few times, keeps resurrecting itself, or never went away, only disguised itself as something else occasionally. Such definitions depend who you speak to, but these works are undeniably fresh, innovative, and fun, with an intellectualism about them. Inspiring long sentences and plunging into reverie, Pleasant Street has quite a bit going on.
Cat Fooks with so much heart, herself, of course, so her work does present that way as well, if you've the love to recognise it. Also a canny woman, producing excellent lines in conversation, weaving, gazing, and such a ready wit.
More mature than her first show that I saw, (which offered a lighter, more curious effort, with some startling subtle elements like those 'related' objects seemingly trying to get away from the paintings). Anyway, this 2016 painting reveals evidence of a great mind and self behind the playfulness, Fooks unafraid to introduce the personal albeit in an abstract fashion, but it resonates like we're hearing a tone of voice or even singing. Objects were also created for this show, to accompany the wall pieces, but Anna Miles decided the paintings were best exhibited, hung alone.
Got me thinking about changes in life, how art reflects or leads that, and also, recalled Dr. Jack Ross, the writer produced a piece a few years ago. He stated, more or less, that nowadays New Zealand and some other Western poetry we influence, and visa versa, has far more heart. That writing displays more personality and intimacy revealed in a non-ironic manner, or if irony is used it's kinder. Evident in this Fooks visual art too, that attitude, innovative, thoughtful, and yet also harking back to when artists were unafraid to portray themselves as fragile, vulnerable people, who loved others, loved the world, Monet, obviously one example. Also expressing other emotions and states, Van Gogh for instance, or at times Georgia O'Keefe. Marking themselves as far more than intellect, self-control and discipline, (necessary and admirable but they need not be the whole picture). I considered at the time Ross wrote that, that this could be a female influence. So much Western male art has as its tone after all a bravado, or strength, or mysterious covert loveliness for the last, say thirty years before the 2000s. Female artists and writers, I find, are still nowadays encouraged to be 'more male' but in a subversive manner, rarely overtly. But the most daring and generous, the most talented perhaps, dare to allow themselves to be less oppressed and directed, so this softness, this strength of the oest, if I dare say that, appears. 

Better to view this online - search - Cottonwood - Georgia O'Keefe 

 Love inventing words. Thank you Shakespeare. He did that so well of course, what a fine example. (No need to feel intimidated when someone does something well, do what you think best with that example, in your own manner). Strength of the Oest, yes, Pleasant Street could be subtitled that. (Oestrogen is far too obvious a word, not mysterious enough to get across what I'm trying to convey. Also inventing 'oest' could be another grand excuse for people to call me crazy, by the way, can hear the gasps now. The greats often are called names though, aren't we)? *laughing*
Women are "not supposed to talk about themselves," some say, in high society and the upper middle class slavishly imitate that rule. But that 'good manner' really serves mainly as a guide for public conversation with someone you're not certain about, these days, or when needing to attend to practical matters, straight forwardly. In art, and art-related activities, we may certainly "talk" about ourselves, and long may that continue. With our art work we have nothing but ourselves to use as we see fit or best, to start with. Everything's filtered through our own experience inevitably. The feminine also appears evident in many males too, if we may say that certain qualities do belong to any gender, but it's still discouraged it seems to me, too often. Perhaps this kind of art with oest, however, shall help bring us away from the ridiculously overt patriarchy we suffer under now, to different degrees, almost everywhere. Dangerously so too, this suffering the patriarchy, with the planet threatened as far as us being able to survive here and so much else alive on the way out, do not fool yourself.
Yes, I dare make art important in saving the world. Why not? Go along and see for yourself, Cat Fooks at Anna Miles Gallery, 20 Upper Queen Street, opened last night.
Be lovely to hear what you think too. Comments welcome, and we have a gathering of writers and artists here on occasion, at Blue Haven, Grey Lynn, Tamaki Makaurau Auckland. Inside the house before I move, eventually, whenever that may be, any major change is on hold now. Many changes are afoot. So if you want to be included, make fb friends with me. Let's get to know one another. Art saving us from ourselves. 
Opening night 31 July 2016 Cat Fooks at Anna Miles Gallery 20 Upper Queen Street - photo by William Dart
That's Cat Fooks in black mid-right, Michael Onslow-Osborne top middle with his hand to his mouth, thinking probably, and  me front lower right, what silvery hair I have these days.

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