WAIMARAMA, REFLECTING ON WATER, 2018

Cathy Carter

1 February – 26 February

The work in this exhibition arises from Muse Gallery’s inaugural artist residency at Waimarama Beach, Hawkes Bay (November 23 - December 14, 2017). Our thanks to John Fleischl. Artist Cathy Carter was the artist in residence and has created work that reflects on Waimarama, its unique heritage and beach and sea culture. Carter’s time at Waimarama coincided with a super moon (on December 3, 2017), enabling her to explore within the work both aspects of the literal meaning of the beach’s name: Wai (water) marama (moon).

‘Waimarama, Reflecting On Water’ features photographs that explore bodies of water as physical, cultural, social and unique environmental ‘landscapes’. Carters practice investigates our often complex  psychological relationship to water through different perspectives and geographical locations to create new ways of experiencing these spaces. The works draw on Alberto Giacometti’s observation. ‘ The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity’ 

The works can be looked at through the context of three different series or strands of Carter's practice: In her Seaside Series Carter positions the viewer as ‘arial voyeur’, floating above the space of water as the humans float below. An inherently contemporary, drone-like perspective, this provides a detachment and space to further observe our diverse relationships with the seashore. There are many dynamics at play within this sensual space of pleasure and performance. The work examines the joy and yet always present vulnerability of humanity when immersed in water! The image was created through digitally collaging photographs of the same space of water over  the period of an hour. In this case the photographs were taken from the new lifesaving tower. Carter then collages specific individuals who sometimes appear twice or 3 times in the one work. The aim is to make visual relativities of time and space often experienced during times of leisure, in this case time spent in the sea. In these situations there is a sense of being in the moment that frees us to some degree form the restraints of time. The Waimarama works join work in this series from Waikiki (Oahu, Hawaii), Napili (Maui, Hawaii), Takapuna (Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand), Pauanui (Coromandel Peninsula, Aotearoa/New Zealand), Shelley Beach (Sydney, Australia)

Motu-O-Kura series, a new series of work from Carter’s residency that explore a myriad of perspectives of the Motu-O-Kura (Bare Island). Carter references her long-time inspiration, Japanese artist Hokusai. Carter has previously made work that is an homage to Hokusai’s Kanagawa Wave. In this work, she references Hokusai’s ’36 views of Mt Fuji’, creating a number of views and re-imagined perspectives and reflections of the iconic Motu-O-Kura.

The photographs from the Oceanids Series, explore ancients myths about guardianship of the sea and bodies of water. Carter uses photography to construct  contemporary representations of these mythical eco warriors. Carter’s new work ‘Reflecting on Hinengu #1, #2, and #3’, picks up this theme exploring myth of Hinengu daughter of Tangaroa, god of the oceans. Carter wishes to thank kaumatua Robert Macdonald and his grandson Ike Wallace for sharing some of the mythical legends of the area and its Tangata Whenua. In this local legend Hinengu was a shapeshifter, able to transform from her true form as a giant squid into whatever form she chose to by the light of the golden moon. This allowed her to transform herself into a beautiful maiden to capture the heart of a young man Rongomaipureora, son of Te Aomatarahi, a famous general of the Kahungunu Tribe. The works here look at different aspects of her story as well as her  shapeshifting abilities. For further information about Hinegnu can be found at http://www.waimaramamaori.co.nz/stories/te-ana-o-hinegu/