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JH

Youle on McCahon and Art History

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Wayne Youle, the nurturer, 2020, mixed media, collection of the artist. Photo: Sam Hartnett Wayne Youle, the nurturer, 2020, detail, mixed media, collection of the artist. Photo: Sam Hartnett Wayne Youle, the nurturer, 2020, detail, mixed media, collection of the artist. Photo: Sam Hartnett Wayne Youle, the nurturer, 2020, detail, mixed media, collection of the artist. Photo: Sam Hartnett Installation of Wayne Youle's Elevation at Te Uru. Wayne Youle, long JUMP, 2019, glass beads, stainless steel trace, fittings. Photo: Sam Hartnett Wayne Youle, long JUMP, 2019, glass beads, stainless steel trace, fittings. Photo: Sam Hartnett Installation of Wayne Youle's Elevation at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett Wayne Youle, foundation, 2019, French Bay concrete, steel I-beam. Photo: Sam Hartnett Installation of Wayne Youle's Elevation at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett Wayne Youle, uprightness, 2019, stained glass. Photo: Sam Hartnett Installation of Wayne Youle's Elevation at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett Wayne Youle, tension & friction, 2019, acrylic ink on 305 gsm Hahnemule paper. Photo: Sam Hartnett On wall, Wayne Youle, crossing, 2019, chalk, enamel on board. Photo: Sam Hartnett Wayne Youle, the woman from the path, 2019, cast bronze, edition of 10. Photo: Sam Hartnett

It is a shame that there wasn't more detailed information available about the genesis of each of the thirteen exhibits—selected from thirty—but maybe Youle wants some of these items to remain ‘Visible Mysteries' in a non-ecclesiastical (non-transubstantiation) sense; holding his cards close to his chest and focussing on the experiential. Encouraging a more open interpretation if desired.

Titirangi

 

Wayne Youle
Elevation


26 September - 29 November 2020

Downstairs in the Te Uru education room Wayne Youle’s exhibition presents work he made during his recent McCahon House residency, and which directly references not only McCahon’s painting practice but also the architecture and surrounding garden of the Titirangi building McCahon and his family lived in from 1953 to 1960.

The show is beautifully installed: quite exceptional in its elegant precision and interconnected spatial layout; the gallery’s walls, windows and corners being sensitively utilised. And although detailed information about the construction of some individual items is lacking in Felicity Milburn’s online McCahon House essay, the titles mostly provide sufficient clues for you to grasp Youle’s wit and scholarly allusions. Sometimes—for anyone familiar with McCahon’s career—even Youle’s titles are not essential, especially when his sculptures nod to certain famous images (such as the Jump, Letters and Numbers, or Visible Mysteries series), or reference concepts like art-historical time.

At first glance these aspects are not immediately obvious, for the works seem more like a collaboration between Billy Apple and Fiona Connor, with their separate interests in building construction. Yet as a Youle show it is particularly subtle and adventurous. It is not as focussed on colour or shape as in his earlier practice, but more about McCahon’s processes of combining art production with caring for his family, and some unfinished architectural modification projects that he started to ensure the good health of his children—but which he never completed.

As I’ve said, it is a shame that wasn’t more detailed information available about the genesis of each of the thirteen exhibits—selected from thirty—but maybe you need to look around the cottage itself, or maybe Youle wants some of these items to remain ‘Visible Mysteries’ in a non-ecclesiastical (non-transubstantiational) sense; holding his cards close to his chest and focussing on the experiential. Encouraging the viewer to make a more open interpretation if desired.

never-ending love is a pair of small motorised ‘clock’ boxes tucked in a corner, each with a revolving white-tipped second hand—but with one conspicuously behind the other in its clockwise movement. Perhaps this work is subtly about the processes of withholding information and the delay of viewer comprehension; how art’s context and understanding gradually evolves within an envelope of deferral. How ideational seeds sown in exhibitions germinate, grow and eventually flower.

John Hurrell

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