Pauline Rhodes, Conduits and Containers: Leakage from the Text

22 June –18 August 2002

Throughout a career spanning more than twenty-five years, Pauline Rhodes has been making works both in the environment and in specific gallery contexts–works that challenge conventional representations of the landscape in New Zealand and traditional sculptural practice. Embracing the categories of sculpture, performance, installation, drawing and photography, Rhodes’s installation at the Adam Art Gallery revealed the artist’s reflective engagement with materials, processes and sites, and highlighted the ephemeral nature of her practice.

Rhodes does not make permanent objects, refuses to treat her images as final products and works only in temporary modes, often outside the normal contexts for visual arts reception. Central to her practice is both the possibility and impossibility of communicating adequately through any means. Rhodes states: “I seek to give evidence to ideas, activity and sensation in a world of complexity and ambiguity.”

Materials placed within the architectural margins of the Lower Chartwell Gallery are seen in relation to slides documenting the physical elements–freed from the confinement of the gallery–as performative interventions outdoors. Accompanied by photographic images, exploring conceptual and material concerns through the processes of ‘drawing’ in two and three dimensions, the exhibition interrogates notions of time, containment, conduit and leakage.

The exhibition project coincided with the launch of a major book documenting Rhodes’s practice from her first installation in 1977 to her millennial work, Ziggurat 2000. Published by the Adam Art Gallery and Victoria University Press Ground/Work: The Art of Pauline Rhodes was written by Victoria University lecturer, Christina Barton. For Barton, Rhodes’s work brings together many of her key concerns: an abiding interest in experimental art practices, a commitment to the work of women artists and a personal fascination with New Zealand’s landscape.

The exhibition was supported by Creative New Zealand and Victoria University Press.

A substantial book was produced in conjunction with the exhibition Ground/Work: The Art of Pauline Rhodes. Published by the Adam Art Gallery and Victoria University Press, it includes essays by the exhibition curator Christina Barton, Sarah Treadwell and Geoff Park.