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title A fine response
publication Nelson Mail
description Review by Gail Tressider
date 09:01:2008

WALL DESIGNED: Anna Leary's Twenty-nine Days, Tasman Bay 2006 arches over Catharine Hodson's Moonlight Shimmer 2007, on show at the Suter.

To highlight the art of Nelson in the capital during September's World Of WearableArt Awards, artists were invited to propose work illustrating or documenting a section from a past WOW show. The successful art, together with the WOW garments that inspired it, went on show in Wellington as Re:fine. Now the exhibition has been put together in a different format at The Suter. Gail Tresidder reviews it.

People lucky enough to be in Wellington for last year's WOW and the original Re:fine exhibition - I was not one of them - have remarked that in its slimmed-down form, the current show at the Suter is even more spectacular.

Walk up the stairs and enter what can best be described as a theatre. On the far wall, Anna Leary's 29 acrylic pods form an arching outline for the stage. Hanging beneath them is Catharine Hodson's Moonlight Shimmer. It looks spectacular from anywhere in the room. Hodson's other work, Silage Shimmer, with the brick orange and yellow sky reflected in the grass at the base of the painting, is also stunning.

Back to back, four large hangings, pigment print on fabric, shape left and right stage flats. To really appreciate the complexity of Janet Bathgate's imagery takes time. I recall shades of black and brown, phases of the moon, markings of latitude, the koru, birds and animals including the unwelcome possum, stoat and rat. An early cave painting from a vanished people, a park with English trees and charted voyages - Maori, Tasman, Cook - on the relatively empty Pacific Ocean. This is thoughtful work.

Centre stage is the beautiful WOW exhibit Tui-tion. Creator, Aucklander Tracey Smith, describes the tui as "a fashion flaunting diva of the New Zealand forest" and atop the green and black fabric feathers and white foaming throat feathers sits an outrageous black and diamante studded collar and even more outrageous and delectable black satin beaky hat.

Also as part of the set, Roger Davies' space-age chair Trac-Shone is an elegant curve of stainless steel and golden mild steel while Meg Nakagawa's blue and brown wrap Windprint, woven from possum, merino and silk, makes a harmonious setting for the delicate pieces of Charles Shaw porcelain, the large orb almost edible in its beauty.

Twelve examples of Katie Gold's new direction into more intricate and detailed pottery, the bowls influenced by Melanesian life, the pillars by Polynesian, make a vibrant and dynamic display. Shells, fruit and insects are beautifully crafted and I particular enjoyed the deeper colours, especially the dark blues. Considering the amount of work and skill involved, these pieces are a snip at very reasonable prices.

Contrasting styles in blown glass by the Hoglunds and Flame Daisy's Anthony Genet and Berintha Binnie-Genet are splendid examples of this high quality art form. The Hoglund Rainforest Craal series, raindrops, fern patterns, solid yet ephemeral; Flame Daisy's Southwest and Pinnacle, pictorial in a dreamy way.

Special mention for the tiny and exquisite jewellery of Helen Turinsky and Adrian Myers - perfect kowhai gold earrings and pendant; in complete contrast the disturbing lambda digital print The Fallen by local photographer Daniel Allen. First reaction - walk quickly past but it warrants consideration. Background, a felled forest. In the foreground, a man in an executioner's hood, his arms bleeding, chainsaw in what could be described as a sexual stance. On the sacrificial rock, also dripping with blood, a naked woman - the naiad of the forest perhaps - awaits her fate.

Fine work in many art forms by Austin Davies, Sally Burton, Kay van Dyk, Scilla Young, Rodney Leong, Rachelle Pratt, Jim McKay, Andy Waugh, Owen Bartlett, Gavin Hitchings and Asava Supreecha also feature.

In putting together this exhibition for the many Nelsonians and visitors who missed the Wellington event, WOW judge Sally Burton and Suter curator Anna-Marie White are to be congratulated.