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James Oram, Erica van Zon: New Exhibitions



Stay down
James Oram
23 January–16 February 2008

Opening preview: Tuesday 22 January 2008, 5.30pm

Artists talk: Thursday 24 January 2008, 6.00pm

James Oram,
'Untitled (please)', 2007
James Oram, 'Untitled (please)', 2007

James Oram,
'Untitled 6', 2007
James Oram, 'Untitled 6', 2007

Presenting a minefield of low slung, modified ceiling fans, James Oram’s Stay down is loaded with hazardous intent. Commanding caution and transfixing our gaze, Oram’s hardware capped fans are accompanied by a moving image sequence that sees the artist’s head strain to rise from the gallery floor as he positions himself within an unusually rigorous process of submission and resistance sustained by someone just outside of the frame.

Oram’s diligent investigations of the cultural and moral codes that condition our reactions to environmental pressures and ambivalent gestures, here sees him either thwarted or saved by the exhibition’s directive to stay down. Consequently, what might have originated as a functional pursuit or an agreeable, game-like diversion, has now collapsed into an incessant struggle set in motion by an indeterminate encounter.

Considered in relation to Oram’s recently produced work Self Generating (2007), currently on show at the Christchurch Art Gallery, this installation for The Physics Room reiterates the artist’s fascination with the dynamics of personal struggles, inescapable rivalries and absurdly regulated cycles of action.

James Oram graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Canterbury in 2003, was awarded the Ethel Susan Jones Fine Arts Travelling Scholarship, and has served as Chairperson of The High Street Project Trust (2004–2005). He currently has work on show in Another Destination, Christchurch Art Gallery, and other recent projects include: The Good Life, HSP, Christchurch (2007); Open Slate, Gallery 33, Wanaka (2007); Feeling the Burn, SOFA Gallery, Christchurch (2006).


Props Room Configuration #2: Hollywood Regency
Erica van Zon
23 January–16 February 2008

Opening preview: Tuesday 22 January 2008, 5.30pm

Erica van Zon,
Props Room
Erica van Zon, Props Room

Erica van Zon, Snow
and Leaves Sacks
Erica van Zon, Snow and Leaves Sacks

Reproducing a range of props, posters and artefacts from cinema’s back catalogue, Erica van Zon’s installation playfully accommodates a wide range of hand-crafted objects patiently awaiting the possibility of their redeployment in other, yet to be scripted, scenes.

Conditioning our impressions of the action they politely accompany, props of all kinds resonate quietly in backgrounds everywhere, building up their own histories of repetition, citation and mystique. This inventory of aestheticised reproductions blurs itself with a more imaginative sphere and aligns van Zon’s observational impulses closely with an ardour for memorabilia known only to die-hard fans.

Operating as oddly familiar totems to memory and the distant narratives that her collected works hope to reconvene, van Zon’s collected sculptural and painted elements provocatively frame the gallery as another cultural mechanism that rifts endlessly on appearances, revivals and reproductions.

Erica van Zon completed her MFA at The University of Auckland in 2007, having previously studied at Auckland University of Technology. She curated the Auckland project space dep_art_ment from 2006–2007 and has shown with Roger Williams Contemporary, Objectspace, HSP, and Canary Gallery in New Zealand; TCB in Melbourne; En Passant, and The Chiellerie in Amsterdam; and in her apartment at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Another exhibition by van Zon entitled Shock! Horror! Suspense! will also be showing at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Manukau during February.

The Physics Room receives major funding from Creative New Zealand/Toi Aotearoa.


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