A new exhibition by Elam School of Fine Arts Graduates (2005) at the Gus Fisher Gallery challenges viewers to reconsider their expectations and relationship with art.
Assume Nothing – the title of the show, is akin to an instruction to the audience, to slow down and, without prejudice, engage in a process of discovery.
Featuring six early-career artists: Richard Bryant, Richard Frater, Anya Henis, Schaeffer Lemalu, Patrick Lundberg and Martyn Reynolds the exhibition consists of work that is deceptively modest while subtly demanding attention. All are artists whose work illuminates the determined pursuit of art that is concerned with what art is, what it does, how we engage with it, and what it might mean?
With a gentle nod to the Slow Art Movement, Assume Nothing challenges viewers to spend time to consider the works as opposed to a quick-fix fast-paced witnessing of art. This is initially a simple requirement: to engage with the work, to consider it – in the sense both of looking and thinking.
“The exhibition’s central concern is with the disarming delicacy of the artists’ practices, where apparent simplicity or lightness of touch belies the works’ rigour. We hope the show will silence presumptions and strip externalised explanations of art’s authority. This exhibition is a bold return to an essential consideration of practice. We are asking the audience to engage with the art itself and its capacity to make meaning for us – meaning that is quite apart from any alternate requirement to deliver a narrative, serve an ulterior purpose, reveal a psychology or determine an ideology,” says curator Dr Peter Shand, Deputy Dean of the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries.
Assume Nothing opens at 5.30pm on Friday 4 May at the Gus Fisher Gallery and runs until 23 June.
The Gus Fisher Gallery
74 Shortland Street