Aere E Akamotu – Start to Finish
BCA Gallery, Rarotonga
September 12 – October 2 2010
BCA Artist in Residence July – September 2010
In 2001 Reuben Paterson visited Rarotonga and Aitutaki for the first time, immersing himself in our ‘paradisiacal Island fantasy landscape’. The Islands environment had a deep and profound effect on him that readily found its way into his art practice.
A singularly important work is the massive 7 x 5 metre Rarotongan beachscape titled ‘When the Sun Rises and the Shadows Flee’ for the 2004 exhibit He Aha Te Mea Nui? – What is the Greatest Thing?
This work, made from what Paterson describes as ‘Atua’ or God sized glitter pieces, shimmers when activated by an industrial fan. Black silhouetted palm tree’s and a blue/black seascape dominate the painting, the viewer drawn into a light between spaces, the interaction of sublime yet savage inevitability a spellbinding experience. This work is now housed permanently with the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Paterson was also included in the international show ‘Iki & thanks for all the Ika’ which came to Rarotonga in 2004.
For the 2010 BCA Residency, the New Zealand Mäori Puhoro design, with its own specific genealogical and voyaging applications, is Paterson’s first source of inspiration for a series of 12 small glitter works entitled Aere e Akamotu. Also incorporating Cook Islands Black Pearls, the paintings glistening ‘black water’ effect is reminiscent of moon light dancing across our darkened harbour at Avana.
Two large abstract kaleidoscope glitter paintings with their origins based on Rarotongan sea life offer an exciting sense of cultural transformations. Paterson’s new kaleidoscopic technique is utterly compelling, his renowned prowess with pattern, form and colour is revealed to full effect. Strongly influenced by whanau and cultural genealogy, Paterson’s current presence in Rarotonga seems inevitable. Aere E Akamotu is a witty acknowledgment of legends and shared origins, of an environment in transition and an adventure yet to unfold.