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Artists bring light to darkness in 3 unique shows

Three different but equally compelling exhibitions open at Depot Artspace this Saturday March 10 at 2pm.

Using a diverse range of media while simultaneously reflecting individual influences and experiences, New Zealand artists Sue Nelson, Julie McGowan and Susanne Khouri make bold statements in their respective exhibitions.

Sue Nelson’s insightful installation entitled Burned is a powerful homage to the women who didn’t make the history books because they were female. Nelson’s work is a timely commentary on women’s rights, in light of the annual International Women’s Day (8 March) and the UN Commission on the Status of Women (12 -23 March).

As Nelson explains, “The works are the charred remnants of one large artwork that was axed to pieces and carefully burned. Colour and intrigue shine through despite the axe that smashed it and the fire that blackened the edges.”

Each remnant has become unique in its own right, yet remains part of a collective that shared the same fate.

Artist Julie McGowan explores social and humanitarian issues in her series of oil paintings, entitled Presence.

In 2013, McGowan travelled to the Mindoro Island in the Philippines to volunteer at the Ruel Foundation orphanage. During her stay, Typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban Island, becoming the country’s worst natural disaster and one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded. Tacloban City was devastated leaving over 50,000 people homeless and thousands dead.

McGowan, together with an interpreter and the orphanage director, went to the city after the disaster and helped to allocate donated money for housing, feeding people in the outlying areas, and treating injured people.

Her ultimate goal in producing Presence is to document her experiences during that time, while considering how we are often so far removed from natural and humanitarian disasters.

“I wished to express what I had seen, the emotions it invoked and how I could construct these experiences on canvas so the unknown viewer would also comprehend the magnitude and variety of emotions I was subjected to,” says McGowan.

Susanne Khouri’s new show Escape is another chapter in her printmaking practice, following on from a successful show at Depot Artspace in 2016 with fellow printmaker Celia Walker.

Escape is experimentation in motion using an unusual technique called Polychromatic screen printing. Polychromatic screen printing sits in the boundary between painting and printmaking and can be seen as subverting the inherent qualities of both mediums.

“The immediacy of this technique was liberating”, explains Khouri. “It was an escape from the strictness and exactitude of traditional screen-printing. It allowed me to be spontaneous and playful…Each work exists as a unique impression, complete in itself. Together they are a kaleidoscope of colour migrating across the wall.”

Burned, Presence & Escape will officially open on Saturday 10 March, 2pm-3:30pm in the Main Gallery, Depot Artspace, 28 Clarence St, Devonport.

Burned, Presence & Escape are available to view between 10 March – 28 March 2018



Artist Talk with Julie McGowan - Sunday 11 March, 1 – 2:30pm

Join artist Julie McGowan for an informal chat about her latest show Presence, the inspiration behind the series and her artistic practice.

Depot Artspace

Depot Artspace is an open and inclusive creative community in Devonport, Auckland that encourages engagement in all art forms. Depot Artspace offers a variety of facilities, services and events that support the creative community including galleries, a professional development programme, publications and a recording studio.

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