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Peata Larkin: Encoded Whare (2011)


Fri 17 Jun 2011, 9:00am–5:30pm
Sat 18 Jun 2011, 11:00am–3:00pm
Mon 20 Jun 2011, 9:00am–5:30pm
Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:00am–5:30pm
Wed 22 Jun 2011, 9:00am–5:30pm

Where: Milford Galleries Dunedin, 18 Dowling St, Dunedin, Otago

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free


Listed by: Milford Galleries

In ‘Encoded Whare’, Peata Larkin uses paint rather than harakeke to create her own visual language that alludes to both traditional Tuhourangi symbolism and the coded data that underpins much of modern life.

Larkin’s works are vibrant and tactile; paint is carefully pushed through a woven mesh and further colour is then applied on the surface to create complex networks of patterns. Building on her past practice, Larkin has used clear plexiglass as a background to her patterned mesh. The transparency of this medium allows the shadow-play of weave and pattern to become an intrinsic part of the works, and they take on a sculptural quality which is further enhanced by the receding and advancing qualities of both colour and pattern. In ‘Patikitiki Flow’, warp and weft have been manipulated so that patterns undulate across the surface.

The grid format Larkin employs references the textile traditions of tukutuku panels and Jacquard weaving, as well as the digital world, where images and meanings are fashioned from pixels and binary code. Individual letters, characters and commands are assigned a different binary number, eg: uppercase ‘A’ is represented by the digits 01000001. The titles of Larkin’s works have been deliberately left in uppercase to mirror the fact that she is using these particular binary translations as part of her works. The physical representation of zeroes and ones have the dual purpose of both conveying literal information – the names of the works – as well as becoming visual signs in and of themselves.

Duality pervades this body of work and goes far beyond looking at the digits of binary code. In many of the pieces the pixelated paint dots are black and white, red and green – opposites on the colour spectrum. Most works exist in both a black and a white version. The literal duality of Larkin’s medium highlights the metaphorical duality in which she is interested: traditional/modern narrations, symbolic/literal representations, light/dark metaphors. It is also interesting to consider the role of dark and light as a parallel to the symbolic nature of both absolute nothingness [0] and totality [1].

Just as the woven patterns on the wall of a wharenui narrate ancestral histories, or the source code for a web page formats what is seen on the computer screen, Larkin’s paintings contain their own narratives. The artist does not provide a key to her works; the viewer is left to decode Larkin’s language of colour, form and configuration and to decipher the stories contained within.

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