You missed this – Subscribe & Avoid FOMO!


Tue 30 Mar 2010, 10:30am–5:30pm

Where: Suite Gallery, 241 Cuba Street, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: David Alsop

Irene Ferguson ' Electric Water'
Carlo Van de Roer ' The Portrait Machine Project'

Irene Ferguson's grandmother had an intrinsic distrust of the new-fangled. Declaring the modern electric jug made electric water, she would have nothing further to do with it. Ferguson borrows the phrase as her exhibition title, and as an analogy for our common reservations about new technology, or the way we may reject a photograph or cinematic image as being false or misrepresentative of what something ‘really' looks like.

Painted from photographs, none of the people in Ferguson's latest pictures claim to be exactly what they appear; instead they don costumes, adopt poses, or question the authority of images on screen. Ferguson presents these figures as play-actors, or as spectators lit by the screen - suggesting each is as real as the other. The characters (and ‘characters' they always are in Ferguson's work; there is always a theatrical aspect, no one playing with quite a straight face) all wear costumes, some in casually playful dress-up and some as animals mimicking human traits.

Electric Water is Ferguson's first exhibition at Suite. Previously represented by the Janne Land gallery, Ferguson was the winner of the 2008 New Zealand Portrait Gallery/Adam Art Award, and is a graduate of the Otago School of Fine Arts and New York Academy of Fine Arts.

Carlo Van de Roer's Portrait Machine Project explores the idea that a portrait photograph can reveal an otherwise unseen and accurate insight into the subject's character. Using a Polaroid aura camera developed in the 1970's by an American scientist, Van de Roer has attempted to record what a psychic might see.

The aura camera has undertones of pseudo-scientific authority and attributes associated with a less mediated type of photography. It is a modified land camera that uses instant film and has only one button - allowing the photographer little control over the mechanisms mediating the portrait making process. The subject is connected directly to the camera by hand-plates that measure biofeedback, which the camera depicts as an aura of colour in the Polaroid and translates into a printed diagram and description explaining the camera's interpretation of the subject and how they are seen by the photographer and others.

This is the first ever exhibition of the Portrait Machine Project. Born in Wellington in 1975, Van de Roer studied Photography at Victoria University then left New Zealand in 1999, settling ultimately in New York. Van de Roer has exhibited work with M+B in Los Angeles, Mehr Gallery, Petra Projects and Jen Bekman Gallery in New York, and MUSAC Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art in Leon. A recipient of the ADC Young Guns Award, APA Silver to Pixels Award for Fine Art and the PDN PIX Award, Van de Roer was named in 2008 among the Photolucida Top 50 Photographers. Most recently, Van de Roer was invited to exhibit at the prestigious 2010 Festival d'Hyères in France.

Restaurants to book near Suite Exhibition: Irene Ferguson & Carlo Van de Roer