Rising Again is a new project by Christchurch-based artist Pauline Rhodes. Sculptural components are carefully suspended, arranged and placed into certain configurations so that in assembly, they activate the surrounding space and engage in processes of extension.
Taking her cue from strata of iron-oxide in the geological environment of Banks Peninsula, Rhodes evokes the specificity of the area where a circular shape, formed by two volcanoes is indented by long bays like spread fingers. Land and sea interpenetrate, there are drowned volcanoes and flows have run down spurs producing unique landforms and coastlines.
Employing iron-oxide to her own ends, Rhodes unifies disparate elements and active components through the golden-rust colours they now have in common. Organic materials including water and air are used in concert with a mettalic medium to treat paper, ply, acrylic, wood and canvas so that they bear the tell-tale signs of iron-oxide, either on the surface or deeply impregnated within them.
Multiple temporalities are activated by Rhodes’ acts of making, these vary greatly in scale, ranging from deep geological time, climactic systems, techtonic activity, prior volcanic eruptions, lands forming, natural processes and rhythms including the monthly lunar cycle with its tides as well as the daily passage of the sun. Additionally, Rhodes’ sculptural activities take place within the scope of human histories and endeavours as well as her own oeuvre, spanning more than four decades and involving myriad acts of incising, soaking, staining, rusting, placing, arranging and accumulation.
Labouring in tandem with the given, driven by the material prompts of the studio, Rhodes deftly brings together sculptural elements that have had past lives within artworks that have taken place on the inter-tidal zone, the artist’s preferred locale which is neither land, nor sea, but somewhere in-between. Bronzed and mottled textures allude simultaneously to underground streaks of sediment as well as to the immense golden mass of our sun as it incessantly ascends, going up... rising again.
This is Pauline Rhodes’ third exhibition at Michael Lett.
Since commencing making outdoor projects in the 1970s Pauline Rhodes (b. 1937) has consistently and extensively exhibited her work internationally and in galleries and art institutions across Aotearoa. In 2002 the Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, Wellington presented the exhibition Conduits and Containers: Leakage from the Text. Curated by Christina Barton, it was accompanied by the survey publication Ground/Work: the Art of Pauline Rhodes which covered the artist’s practice to date. In 2018 Melanie Oliver included works by Rhodes in Embodied Knowledge at The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt. This exhibition included significant sculptural works by female artists operating in the 1980s.
Recent exhibitions by Rhodes include: Bluets (with Richard Frater) Michael Lett, Auckland (2021); Blue Mind, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū (2020-2021); Pleasure and Pain, Michael Lett (2019); Time Ongoing, CoCA, Christchurch (2018); Dark Watch, St Paul St Gallery, Auckland (2016) and Cones of Possibilities and Impossibilities, The Physics Room, Christchurch (2014).