St Paul st Gallery AUT

PAKANGA FOR THE LOSTGIRL

Heidi Brickell

6 May 2022 - 25 Jun 2022

PAKANGA FOR THE LOSTGIRL

Heidi Brickell, Detail image of work in progress, (2022). 


St Paul St Gallery is pleased to present PAKANGA FOR THE LOSTGIRL, a new commission by artist Heidi Brickell (Te Hika o Papauma, Ngāti Apakura, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Rongomaiwahine) and her first solo exhibition in an institution.

Weaving together elements of painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation, Brickell’s work explores the ways knowledge informs and shapes the psychological landscape. Brickell conceptualises aspects of her painted works and wider practice as being in conversation with ways of seeing that are expressed through lineages of whakairo, and often expressed in her approach to the pictorial plane as an expanded and porous space to be punctured, lined, washed over, knotted, or any number of treatments she chooses to utilise. For Brickell, this represents an ongoing wānanga around how one understands their relationship to their worlds, both as an individual and as a part of a greater microorganism/whakapapa. 

For this exhibition Brickell builds upon her whakairo informed understanding of artmaking and has developed a series of new large-scale works suspended within our Gallery One space. Brickell’s installation offers an immersive exhibition experience that calls viewers to be in deeper relation to her works, creating multiple points of orientation that confound a linear or singular viewing perspective. Brickell’s installation also works with recently revealed aspects of the gallery’s architecture, with its central pillar and street facing window now bare, allowing the artist to conceive of her exhibition design and relationship to the public in new ways. 

Brickell mentions the whare whakairo, Ihenga, carved by Lyonel Grant for the Waiariki Polytechnic in Te Arawa, as being an impactful work on her practice. In a recent interview, she meditates on its importance, saying “The capacity of this whare to travel your mind and integrate so many threads of connection to stories and sensibilities past and present is something incredible. It also links historical forms to more contemporary ones… the way a wharetipuna functions as a sort of a psychological space, albeit a shared, communal one, is something I’m figuring out in my more personal practice. How art can reflect an authentic mind-space as someone living simultaneously in Māori and Pākehā worlds.”


Heidi Brickell is an artist based in Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau. Her work is grounded in the psychological and informed by her fascination with the interplay of multiple languages, spoken and unspoken, human creations that enable or facilitates exchange, while also being marked by imprecision. Her work in te reo Māori revitalisation and education feeds into her artwork. Recent exhibitions include Soft Landing at Page Galleries, Pōneke; He Pāoro Perea at Kaukau, Pōneke; Floundering Arms Swallowed by Pendent Whenua at Paludal Gallery, Ōtautahi; Alluvial Hours at Laree Payne Gallery, Kirikiriroa; and Nine Māori Painters at Tim Melville Gallery, Tāmaki Mākaurau. Brickell graduated with a Master of Fine Art from Elam School of Fine Arts in 2011.


PAKANGA FOR THE LOSTGIRL: roomsheet