Exhibitions

Gavin Hipkins | Block Paintings

4 November – 5 December 2015

Gavin Hipkins’ new series documents readymade children’s wooden play blocks that he has hand painted, and assembled on the studio table for photographing in close-up. The series explores a psychology where the artist turns child at play in the studio — embellishing toyshop play blocks in different colours than their generic stock hues, then treating the blocks as still life material.

Photographed with a macro lens and greatly enlarged, the photos resemble abstract paintings, and echo the minimal designs of New Zealand’s grandfather of geometric abstraction, Gordon Walters. Except where Walter’s works were clean and sharp, in Block Paintings brush strokes, paint drips, and imperfections on the painted surfaces are revealed through the verisimilitude of a photographic surface. The narrow depth of field builds a tension between an ultra precise surface detail on the blocks, with a blurring of surrounding focal planes.

“Sitting between sculpture, painting, and photography, I like to think of these new works as representations of ‘kinder monuments’ — a reference to their ambiguous scale, and the occupation of the field plane by massively enlarged brutalist wooden blocks,” says Hipkins. “The toy blocks are photographed on my studio table under natural lighting conditions. This treatment of isolated objects recalls tabletop still life traditions, as well as product photography used for advertising commodities. Yet by photographing the arrangements under natural light conditions, rather than the clinical lighting of the photographic studio, there is a clear painterly treatment.”

True to the status of paintings and handcrafted conventions, the new works ignore the very reproducibility of a photographic ontology, instead, these works are presented as unique photographic prints. Hipkins’ return to the still-life genre and a strategy of photographing humble painted objects in the studio, builds on important works including his multipart photo-installations The Colony (2002) and The Pavilion (2011). He positions the Block Painting series as extending his navigation of modernity and photography via referencing eclectic pictorial strategies, and revisiting an avant-garde utopianism. The later exploration has included repeated photographic series of late modern and Brutalist architecture in series such as the multi-panel documentation of Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh in Leisure Valley (2014), and his earlier photo-frieze of New Zealand tertiary institutions in The Habitat (2000).

Gavin Hipkins is an Auckland-based artist who works with photography and moving image. He has been described as a ‘tourist of photography’ reflecting a strategic treatment of eclectic styles and diverse photographic techniques. Over the last two decades his practice has engaged landscape and commodity discourses via a range of analogue and digital technologies, photo-installations, and artist videos. In 2014, Hipkins’ first feature film Erewhon — an essay adaptation of Samuel Butler’s 1872 novel Erewhon, Or Over the Range — premiered at the New Zealand International Film Festival and Edinburgh Art Festival.

He has exhibited widely including: International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2015); The Jewish Museum, New York, USA (2015); Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York, USA (2014); City Art Centre, Edinburgh Art Festival, Scotland (2014); Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Germany (2013); Armory Film, The Armory Show, New York (2012); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2011); Austrian Museum of Applied Art and Contemporary Art (MAK), Vienna, Austria (2011); Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (2010); San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, California, USA (2007); International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, USA, (2006); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, (2004); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA (2000).

He represented New Zealand at the 1998 Sydney Biennale, and the 2002 Sao Paulo Biennale. His work is included in major public and private collections including the Queensland Art Gallery, the Auckland Art Gallery, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, and George Eastman Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York. He is an Associate Professor at Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland.

Located in New Zealand on Auckland’s Karangahape Road, Starkwhite presents a programme of artists’ projects, solo shows by represented and invited artists, and independently curated exhibitions.

Please contact the gallery for further information and images.

Exhibitions

Current

Upcoming

Past

Layla Rudneva-Mckay | I Roll

15 February 2022 - 19 March 2022

Fiona Pardington | Tarota

16 November – 18 December 2021

Fiona Pardington | Tarota Preview

5 October – 7 October 2021

Jan van der Ploeg | The Other Window

17 August – 12 October 2021

Laith McGregor | Second Wind

3 July 2021 – 7 August 2021

Richard Maloy | Maternal Routine

3 June - 19 June 2021

The Auckland Art Fair 2021

24.02 - 28.02

Will Cooke | Every Wall Is A Door

15 January 2021 - 13 February 2021

Whitney Bedford - Bohemia

Seung Yul Oh: Horizontal Loop

John Reynolds: RocksInTheSky...

For Pink Pussycat Club | as part of THE BILL

Fiona Pardington | Childish Things

Seung Yul Oh memmem

Rebecca Baumann Once More With Feeling

SIGNALS

The Armory Show 2010 | 1001 Nights
an installation by John Reynolds

Art LA Contemporary 2010

ShContemporary 2008 | Gavin Hipkins, Hye Rim Lee, Jae Hoon Lee and Grant Stevens

Jonny Niesche | Poikilos | 17 November - 22 December

GEMMA SMITH - Thin Air

SLIPPERY PAINTING

Performative Geographies

Sampler 2020

Gordon Walters: From the Archive

Richard Maloy

Rebecca Baumann: New Work

Jan van der Ploeg | The Other Window | 17 August to 12 October

the artists in conversation, The Estate of L. Budd et al.

Art of Wine

Billy Apple® and Tāme Iti: Flagged

Clinton Watkins

Yuk King Tan

Sampler 2019

TIKI: Orphans of Māoriland

AM/PM/AM

BILLY APPLE® is N=One

Ani O'Neill

Laith McGregor | Second Wind | July 3 - August 7

Alicia Frankovich

Martin Basher: Untitled

The Estate of L.Budd_et al.

Gavin Hipkins: Block Units

John Stezaker: Collages

Grant Stevens - The Mountain and the Waterfalls

Gordon Walters

Sampler

125

Len Lye: Love Springs Eternal

Richard Maloy | Things I have Seen

Michael Zavros | The Silver Fox

Martin Basher | Devil at the Gates of Heaven

Daniel von Sturmer, Luminous Figures

Martin Basher | Hawaiian Tropic

Nabokov's Blues: The Charmed Circle

John Reynolds 2017

BIll Henson | 1985 -2021 | 21 May - 19 June

On the Grounds

Billy Apple

Beyond Landscape

John Reynolds | WalkWithMe...

Laith McGregor | Swallow the Sun

Matt Henry | Analogues

Daniel Crooks | Vanishing Point

Material Candour 2016

Fiona Pardington | 100% Unicorn

Layla Rudneva-Mackay: Running Towards Water

Martin Basher Birds of Paradise | 13 April - 14 May

Clinton Watkins | lowercase

Whitney Bedford 2016 | Lost and Found

Alicia Frankovich | The Female has Undergone Several Manifestations

Fiona Pardington | The Popular Recreator

Gavin Hipkins | Block Paintings

Gordon Walters: Gouaches and a Painting from the 1950s

In Motion

Laith McGregor | Somewhere Anywhere

Starkwhite Queenstown | New Location

TOTEM | A Starkwhite exhibition curated by Mary Morrison

Group Show

Martin Basher | Jizzy Velvet

John Reynolds BLUTOPIA

Gavin Hipkins Erewhon

Grant Stevens Hold Together, Fall Apart

Michael Zavros Bad Dad

Not Another Art Fair | 24 February -3 April

THE ANALYSIS OF BILLY APPLE®

Layla Rudneva-Mackay

Lovers

Glen Hayward I don't want you to worry about me

Matt Henry High Fidelity

Richard Maloy All the things I did by Richard Maloy

Li Xiaofei

John Reynolds Vagabondage

Clinton Watkins Frequency Colour

BAZINGA! curated by Robert Leonard

Starkwhite Queenstown 29 January - 26 February

Whitney Bedford: This for That

Jin Jiangbo: Rules of Nature

Martin Basher

Billy Apple®: $9,020 AND $5,750 TOP UPS

Jim Speers Long Days

Ross Manning: Field Emmissions

Peter Peryer Edition

Jae Hoon Lee Antarctic Fever

Greetings from Los Angeles curated by Brian Butler

Seung Yul Oh HUGGONG