RM Winter Hours: Thursday and Friday 1-5pm
We look forward to seeing you!
In the gallery
The weight of things
17 June — 4 July
This body work exploits the potential of clay, in its raw, unfired (malleable) state, to capture surfaces, as well as the impact of movement and falling. For example, this work measures the height of the gallery through a series of falling cups. Original forms begin as cups, bowls, vases and plates, common domestic ware forms, those recognisable to people from daily use. These (often failed, broken, having lost their traditional function) ceramics become sculptural, and absurdly reference the moment of impact which re-shaped them. At the heart of it the interest is in the investment we have in daily objects in communicating abstract ideas or qualities… the funny way we try and capture and explain the world around us through another form. Initial inspiration was geological (a small amount of found clay retrieved from rail developments in the local area is included within the glazes) these rail developments unearth rocks and minerals that reference significant shifts within the earth’s crust over vast periods of time, which we use to understand the historic and ongoing formation of our landscapes. This work explores the immediate surfaces within and around the gallery.
17 June — 4 July
Retracings began with repeat visits to the physical archive held at RM Gallery and Project Space before morphing with the pandemic into a painterly response to the archive from afar. Utilizing drawings, ideas and materials gathered prior to lockdown, time slowed, and an extended experiment in painting on silk ensued. As such, Retracings negotiates the territory between moments drawn from the RM Archive and the subjective feeling of painting, permeated by a surreal episode in global affairs.
The RM Archive was established in 2009 as an accessible archive of exhibition invites, publications and artists ephemera with an aim for it to be experimental, flexible and evolving. It is an archive started and run by artists for the wider community it serves. Formed and collected by multiple authors over time, the first thing noted is a sense of overwhelming labour within the room. Aware of how much energy is required to stage a single project, this room overflows with the trace of people and communities working. Assuming much of the work has been unpaid, the Archive could be said to represent an ongoing record of creative dreams, persistence and hope. Publications held offer a distinct international flavour as RM places itself within a global art scene of artist run initiatives, with local archive boxes sharing shelf space with texts and images from Berlin, Korea, Melbourne and the US. Painting in response, moments discovered in the archive and publications have been mixed and repeatedly re-drawn, then through light washes on silk, floated together. In this way the project aims to think through painting alongside a physical archive, while also reflecting on local to international aspirations.
Coming up next
His trunk for a hand, and his foot for a scythe
Tom, a four-year-old Ceylon elephant, was gifted to the Duke of Edinburgh in Kolkata and brought to New Zealand on the ship Galatea in 1870. Aboard the ship, he was “pampered with biscuits, pea soup and tobacco… of the latter he was very fond”. After arriving in Auckland, Tom was taken to the Albert Barracks, where he was housed for the duration of his stay along with his friend, a tortoise, who “chiefly serve[d] as a pedestal for children to stand upon all day”.
Tom was a source of curiosity and awe for the people of Auckland. He was also a heavy drinker and was frequently plied with beer and spirits by members of the public and the soldiers that he lived with. During his stay, he was put to work at Maungawhau, quarrying basalt and scoria, and hauled the trig platform, which denotes the highest natural point in Auckland’s landscape, to the summit of the maunga. For this work, he was rewarded with sticky buns and beer at the local public house.
When the Duke’s tour of the colonies ended, Tom was taken to England; whereupon while being transported between Plymouth and London, Tom panicked at the movement of the train and crushed his keeper to death against the side of the carriage.
Tom died young, at about sixteen years of age, in 1882 at the Dublin Zoo. His skeleton remains at the Trinity College Zoological Museum in Dublin.
Matilda Fraser (BFA Hons, 2012, Massey University; MFA 2016, Elam) is an artist and writer based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Recent shows include Poet No. 2 at The Booth, Gus Fisher Gallery, 2019; The Race Marches Forward on the Feet of Little Children, Blue Oyster Art Project Space, 2018; I digress, Enjoy Public Art Gallery, 2017; The Eight Hours Plan, Mason’s Screen, 2017; New Perspectives, Artspace, 2016. She was the 2015 Writer-in-Residence at Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Dunedin, producing a series of nested texts entitled Against Efficiency about the nature of criticism. In 2020, she will undertake the Toi Pōneke Visual Arts Residency.
What shape are your thoughts?
If your feelings of delight, or empowerment, fear or sorrow were given concrete form, what might they look like?
Inside each body sprawls the desert of the mind.
An ever-changing internal topology, studded with land marks, swept clean or flooded by weathers of thought and mood.
These rolling dunes are punctuated with strange grammar:
the biting mouths of despair,
jagged cliffs of anxiety,
exultant trunks of purpose and power,
oozing slugs of low energy,
a sprouting garden of fresh ideas…
Becky Richards presents a new body of experimental ceramic work, bound together through simple, spatial logic. Her research is led by material processes, and follows a continuous flow between the world of the mind and the realm of matter – fulfilling both her inherent need to make things, and the necessity of keeping herself happy and well.
Grasping the invisible
Saturday 18th July
10.30am – 1.30pm
Join the artist for some gentle sculptural experimentation, working through a relaxed series of exercises that playfully seek to embody a few of your own inner forces, in lovely, forgiving paper clay
Materials provided (objects will not be fired)
Participants are welcome to take home the raw objects they’ve made at the end of the workshop.
Coffee and morning tea – coffee and tea provided, please bring a small snack to share.
Please RSVP to Becky at becky.helen.richards@