Upon stepping into Artists on Artists, there’s immediate excitement to be found in the wide range of aesthetic styles and techniques on display. In this group exhibition, twelve artists create and become subjects for portrait pieces, working with each other in a unique creative process. The result is so playful, and the sense of connection between the artists is clear—it’s a hopeful and warm display of community as we emerge from a more isolated period in our social lives.
Lindsey Horne, a painter based in Auckland who initiated the exhibition, talks about the wide range of artists and techniques; “It’s such a diverse crew of artists, not only in terms of the medium they use, but who they are as people… it’s a portrait exhibition obviously, but there’s so much variation within that. We’re laying it out in the chain link so you follow who [captured] who.”
The varying artistic processes are so engaging. Logan Moffat uses oil on a shaped canvas panel, Mariadelle ‘Abbey’ Gamit creates a digital 3D Model, and Lucie Blaze applies mixed media to a skateboard deck. There are also photographs, digital prints, and acrylic paintings within the collection, and it’s exciting to move between each approach, and imagine the differences in creation for all of these different artists. Though the exhibition is all portraiture, there’s little similarity to be found in the pieces, and each artist’s likeness is captured in completely different ways.
The interaction between the artists in the creation for the exhibition creates an exciting sense of connection between each piece. In real time, you track as the subject becomes the artist, and start to feel a sense of momentum from each piece to the next. There are interesting ties between the pieces, as each artist captures the character of their subject. Some, like UoA alumna Sara Moana and Naomi Azoulay utilise vibrant colours, while others like Horne and Paul Darragh play with creative shading. Some pieces are cheeky, some are more intimate, but the result of this ongoing collaboration is always warming.
The aim of centering artists as subjects provides further insight into the creative process, and each piece is given more depth and context by the one that comes before. Horne explains that this is what was initially interesting about the project; “ I thought artists would make the best subjects. They’re not often in the frame, they’re behind the camera or behind the canvas, and I thought shining a spotlight on them and having them as subjects would be so interesting.”
Though, Horne expresses feelings of nervousness and excitement with this process, saying “It’s kind of spooky having an image of yourself that isn’t 100 percent photorealistic. An interpretation of yourself is confronting, especially so if you’re used to being in the control seat.”
Artists on Artist is an intimate exercise of empathy and care. It’s an exciting exhibition to visit, as the creative process is clear and encourages you to think further about the artist who has carefully brought each piece to life. To see the artist as both subject and author in one room is unusual, and this first annual exhibition offers a satiating peek into an artistic approach we’ll be hungry to see more of.
Artists on Artists is on display in the Upstairs Gallery of Studio One Toi Tū until the 21st of May. This exhibition also partnered with Āhua Collective.