Peaks and Troughs offers an extravaganza of contemporary New Zealand photography. A
beautiful new body of work by Conor Clarke is accompanied by the work of 23 others. These
are friends and mentors invited and wrangled by Clarke, grateful for the company and
inspiration offered her along the way. So, this is a rare opportunity to scope recent work by
many of Aotearoa’s best photographers: Mark Adams, Edith Amituanai, Chris Corson-Scott,
Solomon Mortimer and Zahra Killen-Chance, Haru Sameshima, Jae Hoon Lee, and Tim Veling
amongst others. John Collie catches memories in the Christchurch red zone; Roberta
Thornley captures in haunting detail eerie light down a fenceline; Greta Anderson’s painterly
still-life geranium is far from what it seems; and Tia Ranginui’s spectral male and female
figures look both ecstatic and supernatural.
There are many different approaches to photography on show here – and certainly
something for everyone, from the delicate play of light, shadow and sinuous form (in the
Mortimer + Killen-Chance work), to the panoramic detail of Corson-Scott, the intimate
photograms of Adams + Wilkinson, and the humour of Sam Hartnett’s Pioneer Fly.
Then there is Conor Clarke’s work. Much has been written recently, from the terrific text by
Lachlan Taylor in Art Collector magazine #105, to the excellent essays around this exhibition
by Kirsty Dunn and Barbara Garrie in the handsome little catalogue designed by Sang Kyu
Moon and Ken Santos. There are glimpses of the everyday presented along a shelf – 12
stations in all – whilst the other images are all landscape tropes, mountains in the main, but
all are simulations of the real, fictions constructed at least one step away from reality. And
they are glorious.