Images: (above, left to right) Viv Davy, Fragmentia # 20
Su Hendeles, Landing

Moments of Inertia
Viv Davy & Su Hendeles

June 30 — July 23
evidence of life passed
matter out of place
energy expended material decay
sources of contagion monuments of living
traces of time's passing

denizens of the dust lurk in cobwebby corners
to be expunged, sanitised, swept away
awaiting death by water blaster
snug and secure
where domestic goddesses fear to tread
shadowy remains of the unloved
chanced upon in
moments of inertia

Moments of Inertia is a joint exhibition between Viv Davy and Su Hendeles. Viv Davy is a textile artist from Opunake who has previously exhibited in Percy Thomson Gallery in several solo exhibitions and with the Connections group. Her work challenges our perceptions of life and encourages close inspection to interpret the many layered meanings. Su Hendeles is a photographer from Whanganui and has taken part in a vast number of exhibitions across New Zealand. In this exhibition, she showcases her images created using the wet collodion process, invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851.

The Process:
Su Hendeles, Photographer
"The images on glass are ambrotypes, created using the wet collodion process which was invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851.

Collodion, a heady cocktail of nitrocellulose, ether and alcohol laced with iodide and bromide, is poured on to a glass plate which is then immersed in a solution of silver nitrate to make it light sensitive. The 'still-wet' plate is then exposed and quickly developed before it has a chance to dry out.

The resulting image is a serendipitous mix of science and alchemy, intent and imperfection. It is simultaneously positive and negative, the subject revealed only when held against a dark ground. Each plate is unique.

No cameras were harmed in the creation of these images. They are photograms rather than photographs, made by projecting light through the subject, casting its shadow on to the sensitised plate. "

Meet the Artist:
Viv Davy, Textile Artist
Viv Davy grew up in the working class environment of 1950's New Zealand where everyone "made do". The household's textile items from the bed sheets to the dance frocks with all the hand knitted sweaters and gloves in between were handmade.

Techniques, pattern reading and material knowledge were learned from an early age, passed down through the generations. Davy's very talented Mother, Daphne, who clothed herself and five children with her trusty Singer sewing machine and her knitting needles, gave a love of fiber and its special qualities to her daughter. Not only were textile skills a domestic necessity in this era, they were also the established, albeit unacknowledged, female art form.

On establishing her own family, Davy explored beyond this grounding, initially hand spinning, and dying to create more individual expressions in practical textiles. This naturally led into weaving. Davy developed a boutique weaving studio producing custom yardages for clothing and upholstery, floor rugs, wall hangings and other accessories. Teaching the skills to others was always an important part of this business.

Emigration to Canada triggered a deep desire for Davy to communicate her diaspora experiences and for her, weaving was the natural vehicle. Initially undertaking residential weaving courses at The Banff Centre for the Arts, Davy developed a hunger for deeper learning and greater technical mastery. Becoming an A.O.C.A. under the Master Tapestry Artist, Helen Francis Gregor and Senior Multi - Harness Weaver, William Hodge at The Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Davy discovered the expressive power of tapestry and damask weaving.
This was the springboard for exploring more intimate messages in thread, to push the boundaries of these two traditional techniques, to convey the complexities of life as a constantly evolving passage. The juxtaposition of the standard grid format of woven expression with life's irregularities, unpredictability and the organic environment of the living world challenged Davy. The resulting early explorations were mostly small, intimate scale of tapestries. They were woven on very basic portable frames that moved with life, using very fine natural threads predominantly silk, often hand dyed by Davy. Working within the fine scale of the weave, the creation of optically curving and fluid lines resemble woven thread drawings. An ongoing daily visual diary practice often generated the imagery for these intimate makings.

Returning to New Zealand to support aging parents saw greater family demands on Davy and it was this immersion in their care that inspired the research exploration into The Mundane and women's domestic worlds. Embarking on a Masters degree Davy investigated the historic role of cleanliness in early settler New Zealand before the era of mechanisation.

In this more recent practice Davy diversified her explorations of textile expressions. Combining text-based practices with more standardised stitching and assemblage, conceptual works about the lives of women were developed. Some of these works referenced the cultural creation of monuments and also how our memories are created on a more personal level. These new forms homage the nuanced, detailed observational recording that is the hallmark of Davy's practice.

A durational practice observing, recording and reflecting on her own personal domestic life resulted in the installation exhibition that was titled "Liminal Sites: Materialising an Everyday". This body of work was acknowledged with Davy receiving The Dean's Award for Excellence in Research from Auckland University of Technology.

Davy's current body of work in the upcoming joint exhibition "Moments of Inertia" has arisen from her observational practices and challenges superficial notions of beauty and acceptability. The works require the viewer to stop, to carefully attend to the moment in time that is being presented to them, to appraise its resonance and value, to fully engage. Perhaps the sense of worth as accorded to expressions of beauty will become deeper, more honed in the act of focused intimate awareness.

Sponsored by Powerco

Sponsored by Powerco

Bunny, Dot and Audrey in Buggy, 1933
Bunny, Dot and Audrey in Buggy, 1933

Lunch near Waitara, 1935
Lunch near Waitara, 1935

Voyage into the Heartland:
Photographic Works from the Batten Collection

June 30 – July 23
Voyage into the Heartland: Photographic Works from the Batten Collection (toured by Aotea Utanganui Museum of South Taranaki in Pātea) is an exhibition discovering the photographic works of the Batten Family from Tokaora.

During the early 1930's the family set out across the North Island of New Zealand with their camera and a horse called Judy to photograph the central region of the Land of the Long White Cloud. Their perspective is a particular one carrying us on a journey into early 20th century life in New Zealand with practical, but sensitive, objectivity.

Voyage into the Heartland showcases the Batten Collection, a unique photographic anthology exposing original landscapes of the 1930s unseen before in New Zealand. These landscape images speak of a time where landscape photography was in its infancy and still forging its own identity.

The powerful landscapes and intimate portraits reveal a great aesthetic approach to their photography where every image engages us, allowing us to immerse ourselves in their world.

Their perspective is a particular one carrying us on a journey into early 20th century life in New Zealand with practical but sensitive objectivity.

While their landscape images have a sense of objectivity and bleak isolation, their portraiture forms an affectionate bond between photographers and subjects. This familiarity creates an unburdened, carefree outlook from each sitter they photograph.

These experiences stretched out their understanding of the world around them and ultimately had a profound effect on the family.

This unique photographic anthology had its first showing at Aotea Utanganui Museum of South Taranaki last year. Percy Thomson Gallery is delighted to be selected as its second venue.

These landscape images speak of a time where landscape photography was in its infancy and still forging its own identity.

Among the gems are shots of Whangamomona, Toko, Urenui and Douglas.


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