Exhibitions

Gavin Hipkins: Block Units

Starkwhite is pleased to present Block Units, Gavin Hipkins’ eighth solo exhibition with the gallery, from 14 November to 8 December, 2018.   

Described as both a ‘tourist of photography’ for how he navigates the medium’s history, modes, manners, and mechanics, and ‘a great manipulator of the photographic artifact itself’, photographer and filmmaker Gavin Hipkins works across a diverse range of formal styles. His is an ever-evolving artistic practice that consistently explores a theme through expanded series, each a distinct body of work, and each frequently divergent from the other. Core concerns unite Hipkins work, however, including myths of national identity, exploration and colonisation in the modern era, architecture as both a subject and symbol, and how social and political ideologies visually shape the world we live in. His practice considers the ability of the camera to simultaneously capture the reality of the world and the deceptions and illusions of utopian fictions. Hipkins has often photographed fragments or indistinct objects, offered faint accompanying narratives, then woven these into powerful series. 

Since 2015 Gavin Hipkins has been assembling and photographing hand-painted toy blocks. Symmetrical pairings of painted blocks have been titled to suggest the forms and status of painting and sculpture. These suites include Hipkins’ Block Paintings, Block Sculptures, and Block Figures. Using a macro lens, the scale of the unique photographic prints monumentalise the original tiny wooden blocks. Whereas earlier series offered up the everyday as curious objects, or superimposed disparate items in surrealist tableaux recasting what we thought we knew, the Block series re-presents a familiar and humble children’s toy as significant and monumental.  

Taking on the status of paintings, toy blocks become imposing geometric forms reminiscent of architecture. The series’ titles connote historical relationships to modernist sculpture and painting yet complicate the status of the object-assemblages by photographing the ordinary objects and presenting these as enlarged prints. As curator Stephen Cleland notes, “the resulting works subtly probe the specifics of photography and its ability to approach the languages of both sculpture and painting.”  

Hipkins comments “My use of both pictorialist and arch-modernist aesthetics continues to run the risk of being romantic and fetishistic. Yet, for me, calling on these styles encourages a deeper understanding of languages of style and power, and my work inverts their legacies through both miniaturising and monumentalising. With the Block series, children’s humble wooden toy blocks are stacked, photographed, and enlarged to become imposing militant designs or hard-edged abstract paintings.”

For this exhibition Gavin Hipkins presents a new 80-part slide projection work titled Block Units (2018) alongside wall works from earlier Block series. In the multi-part Block Units, pairs of asymmetrical painted blocks are presented as a series of discreet sculptural propositions. Inspired by the visionary art educator Gordon Tovey’s teaching units and painting exercises for New Zealand school children, Hipkins’ colour images resemble mathematical or architectural models. The artist has noted “through these simple forms I return to the instructional nature of the analogue slide projection to recall that the gallery is also a place of learning.”

Gavin Hipkins is an Auckland-based artist who works with a range of analogue and digital technologies, photo-installations, and artist videos. In 2010 he started making fragmented narrative films that frequently call on nineteenth-century references, and adapts these writings to contemporary settings. His projects engage film as a cinematic art that blurs definable genres between drama, documentary, film essay, and experimental narrative structures. 

Hipkins has been selected for the 2018 Asia Pacific Triennial at QAG|GOMA, Brisbane, where he will present a new work commissioned by the APT. He represented New Zealand at the 2002 Sao Paulo Biennale and the 1998 Biennale of Sydney. Residencies include the inaugural residency for New Zealand artists at Artspace Sydney (1998), the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York (2006), and the McCahon Residency Auckland (2007).

He has exhibited widely including: International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2018, 2015); International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany (2017, 2016); The Jewish Museum, New York, USA (2015); Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York, USA (2014); Edinburgh Art Festival, Scotland (2014); Armoury Film, The Armoury 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); Palazzo Re Rebaudengo, Guanine d’ Alba, Italy, (2000).

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