Between you and me
Louisa Afoa, Natasha Matila-Smith and Molly Rangiwai-McHale
19 April 2018 - 1 June 2018
Molly Rangiwai-McHale, Love and Affection (installation detail), mixed media, 2018.
Between you and me continues a conversation between three practitioners who work across sculpture, painting, vinyl and video. While the works could each be considered as forms of speech, the artists don’t claim to speak for everyone. These three women share commonalities, but it is their points of difference which underpin the exhibition.
Natasha Matila-Smith’s work is made in response to spaces—both architectural spaces and those of social media. Often text-based, the narratives hinge on relationships, social interactions, and contemporary politics of romance and intimacy. “Do you ever feel as though you’ve failed at life because you haven’t reached certain milestones by certain ages? As if there is a cut-off period for ‘normal’ experiences? I get anxious when people ask me about my first time, my first kiss, my first everything.” (Matila-Smith, ‘Waiting for love in library aisles,’ Enjoy Occasional Journal, 2018). In recent installation work, the fabric banners are also voices: confessional, declarative, and autonomous.
Louisa Afoa writes, “Growing up I would spend a lot of time in the Papakura library reading after school—fantasy and sci-fi favourites to this day—in those books I would read about mostly white protagonists, chosen to save the world. The characters were never fat; any fat character I encountered was a bully, ‘ugly’ and utterly despised—if the character was a female she sure as hell was never a leading lady to be desired or be allowed to feel desire.” Afoa is interested in reclaiming a femininity that was not afforded to her own large body growing up, creating agency and continuing to diversify the body types we see in public space.
Love and Affection (Part 2) by Molly Rangiwai-McHale dissects self-image traits imposed on her as a child and investigates what may be made of these things over time. She brings an adult reading to a narrative constructed by someone with suspect motives and turns it on its head: “I wanted to make something that gives the wearer the softness and comfort that realising my own healthy self-image narrative brought me; a garment that can be worn after the show.”
Natasha Matila-Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Hine) is an artist and writer based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Her practice often deals with social exchanges and anxieties, across installation and digital contexts. Recent exhibitions include Heavenly Creatures, Verge Gallery (Sydney), 2018; You’re my number 1, Firstdraft Gallery (Sydney); In The Flesh, Blue Oyster Art Project Space (Ōtepoti Dunedin) and Cold Islanders, Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato (Kirikiriroa Hamilton), all 2017.
Louisa Afoa is a Tāmaki Makaurau based artist. Her practice deals with social encounters relating to experiences of prejudice, misconceptions, and racism towards brown bodies. Recent exhibitions include Heavenly Creatures, Verge Gallery (Sydney), 2018; Cold Islanders, Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato (Kirikiriroa Hamilton), and I’ll see you at Orion, Corban Estate Arts Centre (Tāmaki Makaurau), all 2017.
Molly Rangiwai-McHale (Ngāti Porou, Te Aupōuri, Chinese, Scottish, Irish) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She and her partner, Luisa Tora, construct adornments made with objects sourced from their Ōtāhuhu neighbourhood. They have recently been commissioned by the Pacific Collections Access Project at Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira to create a new series for the collection. They also collaborated on a portrait series of Tāmaki Makaurau and Suva-based queer-identifying women in their lives. Recent exhibitions include Heavenly Creatures, Verge Gallery (Sydney) and The Language of Things: Meaning and Value in Contemporary Jewellery, The Dowse Art Museum (Pōneke Wellington), both 2018.