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Bridget Thornton: Flow


Mon 23 Apr 2012, 9:00am–4:30pm
Tue 24 Apr 2012, 9:00am–4:30pm
Wed 25 Apr 2012, 9:00am–4:30pm
Thu 26 Apr 2012, 9:00am–4:30pm
Fri 27 Apr 2012, 9:00am–4:30pm

Where: The Arts Village, 1240 Hinemaru Street, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

In the Rotorua Arts Village's next featured exhibition, Flow, artist Bridget Thornton presents a series of works from her personal collection, created when she was a Masters student at Auckland Universities Elam School of Fine Arts.

The works on paper in this solo show, were produced at a time when Thornton was both interested in "emptying out all symbols and representations" from her work, and also exploring making her own range of pigments using natural clays sourced locally and throughout the Bay of Plenty region. The works themselves are unforced, organic and abstract, an outcome of the process of letting the sheer materiality of the paint medium have the "final say". The ideas behind Thornton's process in making these works are about having almost as little to do with the creation of a work as possible, and letting those works simply evolve. The outcome is not managed through the use of tools, materials or the artist's ego.

Says Thornton of her work, "For me there is something uncontrollable and unpredictable about the genesis of these abstract works. They avoid the act of constructed composition but rather have a natural harmonious 'flow'." The works also possess an organic quality reminiscent of landscapes and waves gently lapping the sea-shore, however it was not the artist's intention to mimic nature in their creation. Quite deliberately, the works are steeped in the Existential philosophy of Jean Paul-Satre which claims that we are our actions. And so artist Thornton "facilitates their birth by an action, but just like any naturally occurring 'event' these works are born out of a spontaneous free floating, undetermined, discontinuous series of 'happenings'."

Alongside the works on paper is a large format photo, previously seen in the 2010 James Wallace Art Awards exhibition at the New Gallery, Auckland Art Gallery as part of the top level finalists' show; alongside this are photographic books which explore the artists intent to capture or frame a moment or an 'event' in the now, again referencing her interest in Existentialism, with references to Heidegger. Thornton's books document a two year process of research and facilitation, and Thornton is very pleased to be able to showcase her collection here in her hometown of Rotorua, as the majority have never been exhibited before.

“Accept that I plan nothing – any thought on my part about the ‘composition’ of a picture are false and if the execution works, this is only because I partly destroy it or because it works in spite of everything – by not jarring and by not looking the way I planned” – Gerhard Richter on his abstract works

Thornton's body of work in part, has been influenced by German painter Gerhard Richter. “Gerhard Richter’s abstract paintings made using a squeegee create a sense of movement, a moment which I have attempted to create within some of my works on paper, and which I have aptly named Action Stills”.

For something well outside of the usual offerings on the Fine Arts Calendar in Rotorua, come to Arts Village to see this show.

Flow opens Wednesday April 4th in the Cottage Gallery, from 5pm.

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