Join Two Rooms on Thursday 5 March, 6-8pm, for the opening of Gretchen Albrecht: Collages 1988–1989 and Tira Walsh: illest.

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In September 1988 Gretchen Albrecht’s first show in Europe opened at Todd Gallery London featuring 11 collages. Established by Jenny Todd, now Director of Two Rooms, Todd Gallery’s location on Portobello Road in Notting Hill was at the heart of the new London art scene. Following this Albrecht mounted two more exhibitions in 1988 and 1989 at Sue Crockford Gallery, Auckland featuring larger collages and a selection at Rob Gardiner’s The Centre of Contemporary Art, Hamilton in 1990. The series has not been shown in New Zealand since. Now gathered altogether, their reprise at Two Rooms represents the 30th anniversary of their public debut.

These collages can be considered the most fragmented and restless of Albrecht’s ouevre. Suspended in an open-ended space, their strategic irresolution exudes a confident, cathartic energy. While some may associate Albrecht’s better known paintings with immersive or mediative qualities, these works operate differently – they push back. In this reiteration of Albrecht’s original exhibition, the viewer is afforded an opportunity to encounter this unique series drawn together while retracing its signals of future developments.

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Building on her debut show at Two Rooms last year Tira Walsh continues to test herself and the viewer with her latest body of work, negotiating action in the moment with visualisation and risk taking. Working from a studio at the old Auckland Railway Station that provides her with a backdrop of gritty inner city life, Walsh is drawn to the physical intensity of manipulating marks on large scale painted surfaces.

Employing an intuitive visual language that references urban grafitti and stencilling, industrial and digital noise, and the element of chance she utilises the entire stretched canvas from back to front often working across a number of canvasses simultaneously, making decisions as she goes, both editing and layering. Then photographing a work she senses is near completion Walsh uses a drawing app on her phone to creative additional responsive marks. These are translated back into handmade marks on the canvas, leaving a trace of disruptive uncertainty around their origins. In the artist’s own words, she hopes “to give the viewer’s retina a jolt, aiming to maintain a sense of rawness in [the works’] making.”

Address

  • 16 Putiki Street
  • Auckland 1021