Our final exhibition of 2020 brings together new work by three McLeavey Gallery artists—Mark Braunias, Veronika Djoulai & John Reynolds.
Named after Milan Kundera’s 1984 novel, the exhibition speaks to the duality of experience. Spanning painting, textile and mixed media, the works are both playful and serious. Urgent and timeless. Whimsical and weighty.
Mark Braunias continues his collaboration with quilt maker Brenda Ronowicz who he began working with after he encountered her handiwork at a local town-hall exhibition in Kawhia. Working closely together on material choice and composition, the pair translate Mark’s signature biomorphic forms into quilts—lifting them off the surface of the wall and imbuing them with an object-like quality.
Veronika Djoulai continues her interest in history and absurd politics with two art historically inspired works. An elegant acrylic painting with echoes of Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People and a mixed media work inspired by Felix Valloton's painting Verdun. Similar to Vallonton’s painting, which depicted the horrors of WWI and poked fun at the fashionable Cubist movement of the time, Veronika’s mixed-media work tries to make sense of a reality star president, a global pandemic and a climate emergency by combining high and low cultural references to hint at the severity and ridiculousness of the present moment.
John Reynolds continues to harness the power of text to communicate complicated human experiences. Inscribed with a line from Greta Thunberg’s 2019 Davos speech, in which she told global leaders, “I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear that I do everyday. And then I want you to act” his triptych and accompanying works on paper and small canvases deftly capture the current global zeitgeist with humour and sensitivity.
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