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Depot Artspace Exhibitions - Graham Downs, Graeme Thompson

Graham Downs: Retrospective – Fifty Years of Day Dreaming
15 – 27 February
Opening in the Main Gallery
Saturday 15 February 2 – 3.30pm

“I started carrying my paint box around when I was eight years old. I was always recording or creating something, from spear guns and underwater cameras to paint boxes and yachts. As a teenager, weekends were spent travelling around with my mates, sailing, surfing and painting. I also had a keen interest in photography and had my own darkroom.

With my interest in art and my unusual view of the world, it was obvious that a career in art was where I was headed and working as an advertising art director/graphic designer offered a world of opportunity and travel. My interest in illustration and photography was my strong point and as a designer, I often conceived the work and completed the final illustrations and photography. Like other Kiwis working abroad, I had no fear of having a crack at anything and solved problems that overseas art directors walked away from. This kiwi can do attitude served me well and I soon became the senior art director with many leading international ad agencies.

I returned to New Zealand in 1983 and set myself up as an illustrator. There was no real illustration industry then and I played a major part in establishing it. My work won many national and international awards, but for me painting was always my first love, so after a lifetime of conceptual work I am more interested in the beauty of the world and the painting of light and the application of paint and the finished surface and effect. This exhibition shows my personal and commercial work, although there are many gaps, as I never collected my own work.” - Graham Downs

Graeme Thompson: Alchemy | Play | Art
15 – 27 February
Opening in the Small Dog Gallery
Saturday 15 February 2 – 3.30pm

Graeme Thompson is a mixed media conceptual artist who grew up in Pukemaori, Western Southland, on a small farm within sight of Fiordland. His mixed media assemblage works have a heaping, helping, handful of surrealism and symbolism, topped with a sweet layer of humour and mordant wit. He uses toys and found objects to engage the unconscious of the viewer in a psychological, alchemical transfiguration of the base materials into alternative (and adjoining) realities of play and art.

Thompson’s exhibition, Alchemy|Play|Art, is a journey of exploration with his inner child into his country upbringing; American foreign policy, religion, and the Wittgensteinian position that art cannot objectively represent subjective experience ... and it is all wrapped up in a lot of fun.

“I like putting jokes into my mixed media artworks, and they’re all fun, even the serious stuff, and they swing wildly between the Symbolist, Surrealist, and Marx Brothers areas of the art spectrum. One piece - named ‘Misrepresentational Table’ - is, literally, a 14 kilogram wooden table top hung on the wall!”
- Graeme Thompson

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