loosely based on a series of events that never actually happened REVIEW by Franky Strachan printed in the ODT 16/2/12

A Gallery currently evokes a high school classroom, complete with vandalised furniture.Artist and gallery director Jay Hutchinson has placed scholastic props to contextualise his latest printed and intricately embroidered creations.By screen-printing on to silk and cotton, Hutchinson has produced imitation school books, discarded paperwork, fast-food wrappers, photos, and even the contents of a classroom rubbish bin.He has then embroidered ostensibly personal – but in fact universally familiar – signs of teenage anguish and temporality on to them: antagonistic graffiti “carelessly strewn” (carefully hand-stitched) throughout the printed books and pages. The exhibition is particularly unusual in two respects. First, interaction is encouraged, defying the sober “no touching” gallery tradition.Hutchinson mindfully suggests that any depreciation of the textiles which will inevitably arise through handling will only add to the authenticity of the work.The character of the exhibition is thus peculiar to individuals as they create meaning from their own, exclusive experience with the work; it is interesting to note one’s comfort levels when it comes to physically handling fine art. Second, the presence of embroidery in contemporary works of art is a rarity.The time spent on stitching these composite pieces is phenomenal, and this (deliberately) serves to enhance the artist’s remarkable communication of forced tedium, convention’s limitations, and sequentially, indignant objection.

Published by agallerypresents.com

Conceived as a two-year project, ‘a gallery’ opened in February 2011 at 393 Princes Street, Dunedin and closed in September 2012. Strategically placed south of the center of town nestled between tattoo studios, sex shops and a needle exchange. What was integral in the selection of the gallery space was that it would be able to be viewed from the street through the street level floor to ceiling windows. This would allow the artists showing to be exposed not only to viewers visiting the gallery, but also those walking past, as a gallery was to represent artists that did not fit within the commercial gallery context or the so called experimental project space’s, this would be the best way to expose a particular group of artists selected by gallery curator/manager Jay Hutchinson, artists he respected and admired and felt were not being represented in the gallery scene at the time.

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