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JOHN LYALL - Still Iconic... a show

Where: Fe29 Gallery, 30 Sandringham St, Dunedin, Otago

Restrictions: All Ages

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  • Admission: Free
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Listed by: thelab

Born in Sydney in 1951, Auckland based, multi-media artist John Lyall graduated with a BA (Visual Arts) from Sydney College in 1982, and an MFA (Sculpture) from Elam in 1993. His multi-disciplinary background has ensured that he continues to work in many media. He has presented exhibitions and performances in Japan, South Korea, UK, Australia and NZ, including the Nine Dragon Heads art symposium (Korea) and SoundCulture, Tokyo. He has co-authored several books and contributed to numerous international publications. Lyall is perhaps best known for his exquisite, large-format Cibachrome photographs featuring strange depictions of nature from the partially demolished Bird Hall, Auckland Museum.

Much of Lyall’s practice references NZ iconography. He has a preoccupation with the moa which started on the first day he arrived in NZ in 1983. A BBC team was filming a Japanese doctoral student in Fiordland. Convinced the birds were not extinct, the ‘moa hunter’ had made a sounding device (supposedly replicating the moa's voice), and was sending amplified, computer-generated ‘moa calls’ out across the fiords - there was no answer. The tale of unrequited love was explored in Lyall's 'cyber-opera', Electronic Moa, performed as a part of SoundCulture, Auckland (1999), and later at Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK.

Since then, moas have featured regularly in Lyall’s work - oil stick drawings, iPad drawings, moa silhouettes (created out of vintage Meccano and clockwork train tracks) and a flickering two and a half metre tall moa outline in coloured LED lights. In an exhibition in the ARKO Gallery, Seoul, South Korea (2010), he displayed photographs of a moa tattoo, and a fibreglass moa he had spotted, oddly, in a Seoul bakery during an earlier visit.

'Still Iconic… a show' presents a selection of Lyall’s oil stick moa drawings (2002) and Meccano moas (2013) alongside a series of new, seriously manipulated drawings and photographs. Starting with iPad drawings and photographs of earlier works, Lyall has digitally manipulated each image using a unique series of applications and programs (30+) - sometimes hundreds of times. All tweaked, adjusted, altered and ‘improved‘ by his fingers interacting with the image on the tablet. Using the iPad Pro, with bigger screen, better colour and higher resolution, these much-altered images are even better, denser, stranger and wilder than his earlier digital works.

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