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WelTec Welcomes the Arrival of the 2012 Rita Angus Residence

7 May 2012

WelTec Welcomes the Arrival of the 2012 Rita Angus Residence

WelTec hopes the three artists chosen for this year’s prestigious Rita Angus Residency will enrich both its programmes and the Wellington arts scene.

Glen Hayward, of Kaikohe, will begin his three-month tenure in June, followed by Shannon Te Ao, of Nelson, and Iain Frengley, of Dunedin, who will share the residency later in the year.

Shannon and his brother-in-law Iain can’t wait to “get stuck in” to their film-making project, while Glen is looking forward to extending the scope of his practice.

The residency, a joint venture between Wellington Institute of Technology and Thorndon Trust, allows artists to complete new work and gives them access to a range of WelTec’s resources, from digital equipment to construction tools.

To gain residency artists must first submit proposals defining a project they want to carry out, the brief being to localise the concepts “technology and culture” in the context of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Of the 30 applications received, WelTec senior academic staff member Kate Linzey says all were of a high calibre, making selection difficult.

The panel chose budding artists Shannon and Iain for their collaborative project involving the digital film platform, while more established artist/sculptor Glen was successful because WelTec wanted to support his need to extend himself.

“Glen is doing well as an artist and he’s stepping up his practice. His work is going in an interesting direction and we wanted to support that,” says Kate.

“Shannon and Iain are new on the scene, they’ve got quite a dynamic mix, and it’s the first time we’ve had a collaborative project and film-makers in residency – we push collaboration as part of our teaching programme so having residents who will produce a collaborative project was very interesting for us,” she says.

“We hope they all have a productive time here, that they have enough space and security to work solidly on their practice, and in doing so enrich both the WelTec visual arts programme and the arts scene in Wellington.”

Shannon and Iain were both shocked but excited about their selection, and see it as a chance to work together and develop their rapport.

“We’ve known each other for a long time – Shannon’s my brother-in-law – but we only managed to find time in our busy schedules to work together on some video pieces for the first time last year,” says Iain.

“So we’re really looking forward to intensively work together for a long period of time in the house, and getting stuck into this new body of film works.”

During their tenure Shannon and Iain describe their project as an investigation into the potential for film to translate site specific performances into art gallery or exhibition work.

“We are interested in the way in which technology influences cultural values, in particular the increasing drive for speed, productivity and the focus on outcome over process.”

Iain, 27, has been making documentary films on commission through his own company since he completed a Master of Science Communication and Natural History Film-making in 2009.

His interest in film-making stems from a love of still photography, which he discovered when his Mum gave him a camera in his early teens.

“I really like strong images, it’s how my mind seems to process things, and remember things, and now I really enjoy the challenge of trying to translate ideas and concepts into film, and also the challenge of trying to capture something real and capture it well on film.”

Shannon, who has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, also delved into film-making after developing an interest in photography.

“I’ve always been creative, but I followed my interest in music for 10 years before I got into art seriously and began my studies,” says the 33-year-old.

“I was mostly drawing and writing at first, then after arts school I discovered different ways to explore the ideas that I had, I did a lot of screen printing, sculpture, then photography before I got into film-making, it was a natural progression really.”

Meanwhile, Glen sees his residency as an opportunity to work in a city environment and extend his practice through the use and help of WelTec’s production facilities.

“I live in the middle of the forest, about 15km up a dirt road, so the chances to do residencies are really a chance to be able to have the conversations I can’t have with myself.

“And I’ve got to the stage where I can’t make enough of the things I need to make for my projects - everything I’ve made in the past has been hand carved and painted by myself.

“So part of what interested me in this residency was that engagement with different technologies, finding perhaps ways of shortcutting some of the really laborious carving and painting I’ve been doing and using some of WelTec’s facilities to do that.”

Glen’s project focuses on recreating an institutional office space cubical, based on Mr Anderson’s cubical in the movie the Matrix.

“The attempt is to look at the recasting of mythologies in different times. This cubical is meant to typify the ordered, neutral world and, to be honest, many other tremendously interesting things. However, the theoretical implications are something that I have limited space for.”

Glen, who took up two residencies last year, one in Switzerland and one at McCahon House in Titirangi, is currently showing some of his work in an exhibition at Wellington’s City Gallery called The Obstinate Object: Contemporary New Zealand Sculpture.

Though he considers himself as much a painter as a sculptor, Glen says he’s always been creative but never thought he was good enough to become an artist.

“As a youngster I’d make model aeroplanes, then once I’d finish one I’d pull it apart again, I could never afford to buy enough of them.

“But I seriously got into art after being inspired by my seventh form art teacher Michael Parekowhai, who’s a well-known contemporary artist.

“I helped him with his first few shows and thought it was a fantastic way to live, I’ve been obsessively sculpting ever since.”


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