In 2009, Gertrude Contemporary was pleased to present an exhibition by New Zealand’s representative at the 2009 Venice Biennale - Francis Upritchard. For this exhibition, Upritchard created sculptural assemblages that presented an ulterior version of history and human kind. While her earlier works explored post-colonial themes, her more recent work had been located in the realm of science fiction, mythology and new ageism.
Often playing on the side of the macabre, Upritchard’s works have had an ambiguous humour to them that is at once alluring and disarming. In Rainwob ii Upritchard combined figures, structures and plinths to suggest a primitive, futuristic landscape. The small human-like characters that populated this landscape were meticulously detailed with contrasting brash, psychedelic surfaces with a handmade quality. Moulded into wistful or meditative poses, and positioned within Upritchard’s architectural displays, her characters became like seekers, or abject and idiotic holy fools who aimlessly wandered through an environment of folly-like plinth-scapes.
This significant body of work by Upritchard - who has been considered one of the region’s most successful installation artists - was first created during a residency at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth as part of their NZ Artist in Residency program. The project was then further elaborated on during Upritchard’s residency at Artspace, Sydney and at the Glass and Ceramics Studios at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.
Francis Upritchard lives in London where she shows with Kate MacGarry Gallery.
[Biographical information current March, 2008]
Acknowledgments - Francis Upritchard, Rainwob ii, was first presented at Artspace, Sydney. It was supported by an Artspace Studio Residency and a Visiting Artist Residency in the Glass and Ceramics Studios at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. The related project rainwob i was presented at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth as part of their NZ Artist in Residency program.