JOANNA LANGFORD, PETER MADDEN, ROHAN WEALLEANS
CURATED BY EMILY CORMACK
MY OWN PRIVATE IDEALOGUE
Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces was pleased to present a new exhibition My Own Private Idealogue. This exhibition combined the work of three artists, Joanna Langford, Peter Madden and Rohan Wealleans. Each of these artists employs a highly subjective language to describe personal mythologies, fictional histories and symbolic landscapes. Whilst these artists employ distinct materials and methods, they are connected through their impulse to appropriate objects, artefacts and historical accounts in a highly personal manner. In their sculptural installations, the often-everyday materials used are imbued with new identities, and become implicated in vast mythological environments.
Peter Madden employs collage to distil meaning from found images, lifting creatures and scenes from National Geographic magazine and reassembling them in vast accumulations and installations. Madden instils his cut-outs with an energy that is all their own – employing the language of connotation to give movement, meaning and combustion to his dislocated creatures as they inhabit their ideographic landscapes.
Joanna Langford’s vast impossible landscapes often feature small wooden ladders and buildings that traverse billowing plastic bag mountain ranges, catering to the needs of a civilization known only to the artist.
The totems, tools and props that populate Rohan Wealleans’ work seem to have been created to cultivate a primal landscape of protrusions and intrusions, constructed from layers of paint, teeth and shark’s jaws that take on Indiana Joneseque tribalism.
Conceptually My Own Private Idealogue fleshed out the relationship between psychoanalysis and post colonialism, examining the extent to which these three artists are responding to our contemporary de-colonised position, in which symbols and histories are readily detachable, and identities and mythologies are personalised as much as they are polemic. This exhibition featured a major selection of work from across Wealleans’ and Madden’s careers and invites the viewer to contemplate the spectrum of their practice, as well as featuring a large-scale, site-specific installation by Joanna Langford.
My Own Private Idealogue occupid both gallery spaces at Gertrude Contemporary, with the gallery space activated by a collaborative architectural component that mimiced and highlighted the unique interplay between these artists’ innovative expressions of their personal, interior worlds.
Joanna Langford is represented by Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch. Peter Madden is represented Michael Lett, Auckland and Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane. Rohan Wealleans is represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland and Hamish McKay Gallery, Wellington.
This exhibition was made possible with support from The Chartwell Trust, New Zealand.