Don't Shoot The Messenger, 19June-27July, Wellington

Don't Shoot the Messenger
opened last night at Solander Gallery in Wellington.
It is a group exhibition featuring Alexis Neal, Charlotte Graham,
Emily Valentine, Vanessa Edwards and John Pusateri,
for whom birds play an important part in their work.
This exhibition is open until 27 July.

"Birds seem to have a bad rep these days, as potentially being bad omens 
and in Maori culture they are seen as messengers
 usually associated with death but they are simply the messengers.
'Don't Shoot the Messenger' looks at dispelling some of these ideas 
and replacing them with new perspectives 
from artists whom love and respect birds of Aotearoa and beyond."

Alexis Neal's new series of works, titled Nga Manu,  
is inspired by early 1900s portrait photography in the form of Carte de Visite, 
so tongue-in-cheek these small works are Manu calling cards. 
There is an element of humour in this work 
where some birds are represented in an oval portrait format 
and some named with important chief titles.

Alexis Neal, Nga Rangatira o te Titoki (Chiefs of the Titoki Tree), 2013
Relief, drypoint with hand colouring, 10x7cm, edition of 15, 2013.

Alexis Neal, Nga Manu Solander Box Set (12 Manu Calling Card Prints), 2013
Relief, drypoint & hand colouring, edition of 15.

In putting this show together I felt it was important to create a series of prints 
that could be stored as a box set in a ‘Solander’ box, making reference to the gallery but also to print traditions.”

Vanessa Edwards' new series explores the simple beauty and value
that these birds have in our past, present and future.
Ngā Aitanga Kapakapa a Tane (The Wing-flapping Children of Tane)
refers to the native birds of Aotearoa being direct descendants
of Tane Mahuta, the god of the forest.
The many native birds of New Zealand are the original kaitiaki (caretakers) of this land
and play vital roles in the many myths and legends originating here.

 Vanessa Edwards, Manu Matauranga (Knowledge Birds), 2013
drypoint & screenprint (framed) on 250 x 250 mm paper, 1 of 1,

John Pusateri produces exquisite stone lithographs
that tap into the artistic tradition of memento mori,
a practice dating back to antiquity where imagery is designed to remind the viewer
of their mortality and of the transience and fragility of human life.
In many of John’s bird series there are striking ironies of preservation being discussed,
questioning whether preserving the specimen does nothing to protect it.
Strong references to extinction of the past have a wistfulness and sorrow
in his rendering of specific birds as protecting them from extinction in the future.

John Pusateri, Post, 2013
Pastel and coloured pencil on archival digital print, 108x73cm

So if you are in the Wellington area,
head along to Solander and have a look at the exhibition.
If you can't get there, images of the works are here on Solander's website.