Category Archives: Day to Day

painting in summertime

untitled from Makyla Curtis on Vimeo.


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15/02/2015 · 9:06 am

Launching Live Lines

cover image for rowan

Tonight at Poetry Live we launched the latest volume of Live Lines, the Poetry Live Anthology. We’ve been working on it all year and it is such a relief to get it out into the world. It is a lovely volume of poetry, with a stunning cover if I do say so myself.

Photography is by Rowan Klevstul.

Edited by Rachael Naomi Heimann, Penny Somervaille & Tim Heath.

Designed by yours truly. 

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linotype slug in helvetica 10pt

cropped linotype

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22/09/2013 · 4:23 pm

New Takes @ Art Station

We joined the throngs of people attending the New Takes exhibition at Art Station this evening, I arrived late and it was still packed.

The exhibition was energetic, in the sense of the large number of enthusiastic attendees, but also in the sense of the work itself, which was playful and full of humour: a fantastic start to addressing the brief. Each artist was assigned a film (not of their choosing), they then created a work that responded to the film.

On arrival, to get into the gallery, you had to walk over a work. By the time I got there, the paintings were scuffed, muddied, and in general, they looked like drop sheets, but I loved the idea as much as I hated standing on art work. The work was titled after the allocated film “Natural Born Killers” – why did the artist (Henry Christine Slane) ask me to walk over the work? Perhaps it was because of the manner in which the DOP of Natural Born Killers ‘walked all over’ the Director and the original intentions of the film. Maybe it was some other reason altogether.

Another work that lay on the floor was “Sugar Blossom” (Kenah Trueswich) a confectionery tiled vulva that had a distinctly Rohan Wealleans feel about it. Though I wonder if I’d have made that connection had I not first encountered Trueswich by her portrait of Wealleans in Potroast #10. The work was in response to Lolita.  I don’t think the intention of this work was to be trodden upon. At least I hope not, as the implications of a vulva being trodden upon are very offensive to me. I really wasn’t happy with the fact that it was on the floor. it already had several footprint indentations on it from people who had stood on it. I appreciate that components of the work may have fallen off the work had it been mounted on the wall, but the work should have been, at the very least, placed on a plinth. That would have been a great way of extending the idiom “pussy on a pedestal.”

My top pick of the exhibition is definitely Lucy Meyle’s “A Little Complication” in response to Brazil. A contorted complication of two of Meyle’s recognisable characters (I’m a big fan of her experimental comics and zines) lying within a dense hatching of pencil mark-making. The work is understated, the composition simple and forward, and the lettering is beautifully designed. The hand of the artist is quite apparent, and one can’t help but imagine the painstaking care employed to make it. It’s an absolute steal at $220, if I had the money, I’d have bought it.

The works “Do you know” (Ada Leung) and “Sacrament” (Jane Park) were very strong images/objects, evocative and apt to conjure many associations and imaginative connections, though I don’t know either of the films they were responding to (God Bless America & The Lair of the Long White Worm respectively). Leung’s work, a newspaper and PVA glue sculpture, was a precise, clean and beautiful form, the colours of the newspaper becoming an almost glowing purplish blue. It was a shame the work was on a window sill, as it was easy to walk past, given that it had quite a simple and understated presence. Park’s hanging test tubes hung away from the wall, and the slow sway of them on their chains cast great shadows on the wall.

Finn Godbolt’s “Distraction is an obstruction for the construction”, a response to Science of Sleep was charming and lovable, and utterly suitable for the film. Likewise, Jessamyn Gemming’s work responded to the film in a wonderful way. In fact, as far as responding to the allocated films, “Blue Ruin, Tangerine Dream, Green Revolution” was the most accomplished. I don’t want to describe it for you, or even say which film it is responding to, as that moment when I made the connection was all part of the work’s charm. I encourage you to see it for yourself.

As with any large group show, it has its ups and downs, but the large number of quality and insightful works maintain the momentum. New Takes is a wonderful, energetic show. I left the exhibition feeling high spirited and inspired.

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The dog ate my homework @ Pearce Gallery

On the flyer the show is described as ‘loosely themed” and “casually curated”. What they mean is “hardly themed at all” and “halfheartedly curated”.

The highlights of the show were those which fit the brief. “I ran out of self discipline” by Rose Meyer was repetitive with an intensive attention to detail to the point of obsessiveness. Letters explored and drawn out on graph paper, the work starts at A, running through the alphabet, but gets only half way through, indicative of the way in which art students burn out before finishing their work. Though straight forward in concept, the work is also interesting to look at, full of strange detail and variation that is unexpected from across the gallery.

The two works by Justine Giles share a similar concept. The finished and polished work “Damaged Goods” sits beside an unfinished drawing, again showing how students burn themselves out on an idea before finishing it – or rather, leave it to the last minute or lack the ability to prioritise. Again the work fits the brief simply, but is in itself an interesting work to view.

Emma Thomsen’s ‘Towards the End…” is a stunning exploration of surreal themes which is scratched out eliminating parts of the image. Glen Snow’s 4 works are a wonderful exploration of texture, it is easy to see how the materials have been handled, there is a lot of play and experimentation.

My compliments of the show end there. It is not necessarily that the other works are not accomplished, but that there seemed to be no editing within the curatorial choices  – many works did not look like they belonged – namely Julie Downie’s “Hanging Bird” and the three paintings by Paul Hooker. Emma Thomsens “A Longer Time Frame” was partnered with the wrong work and so felt lost in the space.

Other works felt like they were completed by the foundation students themselves, particularly the three works by Ruby Oakley, I can only assume she is taking the piss with the works, but I have no way of knowing. Rufus Epp’s “I came here Looking for my Angel and I found her” was similarly immature. Just because the work is supposed to poke fun at “the experience of marking day” doesn’t mean that the work in a show of professional artists should look like the work they are marking. This exhibition undermines the ability to edit ones work for public display. Overall, I was disappointed.

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Yoshiko Nakamara @ Sanderson

 Minute detail in ink, the works by Yoshiko Nakamara are enthralling. The strings works – which were, I thought, the most enjoyable to watch – demonstrate a care and detail that I find paralysing. And yet the images capture an active moment just as the balls of string stop moving. There seem to be cats perched just out of frame.

The wall of string was enticing in a different way. They conjured up a wall of vines, with the glimpse of another world through the gap, if only I could reach into the drawing and pull the curtain aside and see what is there. This particular work tied together the two subject matter of the exhibition, botanics and string.


The Strings – Yoshiko Nakahara

16 July to 28 July 2013

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Jackie Tileston

Working my way through I haven’t kept up with it for ages, but it is such a great site.

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Mr Mason & a missing pukeko


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12/06/2013 · 6:52 pm

Letterpress Printing

24th April 2013,

Adana Press

Bodoni Pt 14

Bodoni Ultra pt 24

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My Dad as Sir John Logan Campbell

In November of 1902 Sir John Logan Campbell, the mayor of Auckland, and ‘The Father of Auckland’, drove Auckland’s first electric tram through the streets.

Today, my father Alan Curtis, impersonated Sir John Logan Campbell in a reenactment of that day.

He drove the 44; a tram built in Ponsonby in 1906. It is practically identical to the first tram (and almost as old) as the one which Sir John drove almost 110 years ago.

It was acquired by MOTAT in the 60’s, where it was disassembled for storage. When the crew at MOTAT came to reassemble the tram, they would have found that every tag and label was in my Dad’s handwriting. The 44 is my favourite tram (which I dubbed ‘My Gypsy Tram’ when MOTAT began its restoration).

A great afternoon at Wynyard Quarter – with a great hope for Auckland’s future of public transport. It is only when Auckland has installed decent, reliable public transport with the future in mind, that Auckland will become one of the great cities. Until then we are just a hyped up country town.


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