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Francis Upritchard: Rainwob I

Media Release

1 March 2008

Francis Upritchard: Rainwob I
1 March – 18 May 2008

London-based New Zealand artist Francis Upritchard presents her new exhibition Rainwob I at New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery from 1 March to 18 May.

In Rainwob I Upritchard presents a psychedelic and visionary landscape, populated by abject, awkward and sentimental human figures and hut structures. A combination of the familiar, antique and ultramodern, the exhibition suggests an array of ideas about time, hope, social and evolutionary change.

This exhibition sees the development of a new body of work in which Upritchard experiments with histories of figurative sculpture and its possibilities within a contemporary setting. Referencing the work of sixteenth-century Flemish figurative painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, her figures are also imbued with utopian countercultural rhetoric, high modernist futurism and the fantasies of survivalists, millenarians and social exiles.

These figures and their landscape model the faithfulness of spiritual and alternative lifestyles yet also allude to the futility and compromise inherent in our pursuit of them.

Winner of the 2006 Walters Prize, Upritchard is the Govett-Brewster’s current New Zealand Artist in Residence.

Govett-Brewster Director Rhana Devenport says that the artist in residence programme has been a powerful part of the Gallery’s programming since its establishment in 1989 by Tom Kreisler, then tutor at Taranaki Polytechnic (now Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki) and the Govett-Brewster.

“Upritchard is a young New Zealand artist rapidly engaging the imagination of audiences internationally. Providing opportunities for artists like Upritchard to return to New Zealand and create new work in such a beautiful environment has immense value, not only for the artist themselves but for the wider artistic community,” she says.

Upritchard herself comments: “It’s a pleasure to have the freedom to develop new work without commercial imperatives and the constraints they bring. It’s an enriching experience to be able to harness local knowledge and inspiration in the creating of this work”.

Rainwob I is specifically presented in the same gallery space at the Govett-Brewster where Upritchard remembers seeing Len Lye’s kinetic sculpture Trilogy 1977 as a child, an encounter which she credits as a source of inspiration in her path to becoming an artist.

Born in New Plymouth, Upritchard has exhibited extensively in Aotearoa New Zealand, Europe and America since graduating from Canterbury University’s Ilam School of Fine Arts in 1997. Following her Govett-Brewster residency, Upritchard goes on to participate in a residency at Artspace Sydney where she will present Rainwob II from 4 - 27 April 2008.

The Govett-Brewster’s Artist in Residence programme is offered in partnership with Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki and with support from Creative New Zealand.

This exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive programme of public events including talks by the artist herself and by Christchurch Art Gallery curator Justin Paton. There will also be a pottery workshop run in association with New Plymouth Potters Inc. A full listing is available on www.govettbrewster.com.

Also showing:
Jayce Salloum: International Artist in Residence
everything and nothing and other works from the ongoing project ‘untitled’, and recent fragments/works
8 March – 25 May 2008
Bill Culbert
8 March – 18 May 2008
Len Lye
A portrait gallery
8 March – 18 May 2008


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