An exhibition of Mark Graver's work, Constable Country,
is being shown at Art at Wharepuke from 18-30 January.
Constable Country is an on-going transdisciplinary project involving installation
of found reproductions, printmaking, video, digital drawing and digital prints.
"When I was young my grandmother used to take me to Dedham Vale in Suffolk
where John Constable set some of his most famous paintings.
She also used to paint her own copies and sell these to friends
sometimes changing the colours slightly to match their home décor.
Constable is a quintessentially English artist
and I am struck by how many reproductions of his work I find in New Zealand.
I began collecting these reproductions from charity shops and from on-line auction sites.
Most people know at least some of Constable’s works through these reproductions in books,
on tea towels and as framed ‘prints’ but few, particularly in New Zealand,
will have seen the originals and few are aware
that his major works are 121 x 182 cm in size.
The collected reproductions are displayed in groups
that make up an area to show the size of these originals.
Also included is a print ‘The Hay Wain’ the same size as the original paintings,
a digital iPad drawing made over a picture of The Hay Wain,
a video of the drawing that shows this process,
and a commercially produced digital printed postcard of the same drawing arranged as a multiple.
The installation offers a number of different but connected dialogues such as:
My own childhood memories of place and my Grandmother,
The reproduction, assimilation and appropriation of old master works,
The introduction of the English landscape into New Zealand homes, a reminder of home and ancestry
and/or another facet of the colonisation and anglicising of NZ by Europeans,
The nature of the original compared to the reproduction and the traditional
versus the digital within contemporary printmaking."