Light Sweet Crude Dane Mitchell, Daniel Malone, Mikala Dwyer, Peter Robinson


Light Sweet Crude
Dane Mitchell, Daniel Malone, Mikala Dwyer, Peter Robinson
12 April – 11 May 2013

“Damn deflection or subtlety! Let’s move beyond the silence of the room, awareness of our bodies’ passages from one work to the next, from the object’s materiality, and from the singular force of one artist’s thinking to the unification of them all. I invite you to leap with me into the heart of the matter. Light Sweet Crude produces an overwhelming sense of something far less concrete, more intuitive, non-empirical. In the bringing together of things and the thingness of things, we are delivered to something more essential, more primary.”
[Jan Bryant, extract from Light Sweet Crude, 2013]

Hopkinson Cundy is pleased to present Light Sweet Crude, a group exhibition of work by Mikala Dwyer, Daniel Malone, Dane Mitchell and Peter Robinson.

Mikala Dwyer’s Methylated Spiritual (2012) is a wall ‘necklace’ adorned with found and handmade forms including diamonds of reflective and coloured plastic, crudely moulded ceramic sculptures, a bottle of whiskey, and a bottle of methylated spirits. The necklace combines two very different types of abstraction borne of two very different belief systems – odd voodoo objects bound with leather and rope that remember the ritualistic function art served at its inception; and hard edge geometric forms that remember the cult of Modernism.

Much of Dane Mitchell’s recent practice has evinced an ongoing fascination with physical manifestations of other dimensions, or traces of otherwise intangible presences. Mitchell’s 2012 work, Spectral Readings (Liverpool), captures ghost stories in glass repositories. Each form was moulded by the artist’s voice as he relayed supernatural experiences (gathered from locals in Liverpool) into viscous molten glass. The resulting forms bulge and strain with the stories captured within, as if they are wrestling their way in or out. Mitchell’s Electrostatic Light Trap (Floor) (2013) is a black, light absorbent void in the middle of the gallery that pulses, life-like. Rather than acting as a seemingly passive minimalist object, the work is a conduit for energy exchange. As light waves are absorbed into its surface (and converted to heat), the energy pushed into the metal is dissipated through the concrete floor below.

Daniel Malone’s work The English Teacher (Malone Dies) (2009) consists of two elements: a pirated copy of a Polish translation of Samuel Beckett’s book Malone Dies, photocopied from the Warsaw Public Library and re-bound with gold emboss; and an irregular hexagonal black frame with mirrored glass that contains membership documents and withdrawal slip for Warsaw Public Library (under Malone’s legal name, Billy Apple). The shape of the frame references Portret Trumienny, a funerary portrait traditionally placed on the head-end of a coffin during elaborate funerals dating from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of the 17th and 18th centuries. Malone’s work, like Beckett’s book, charts the territory between wholeness and disintegration, action and total inertia. Hanging in the office is AUTOPORTRAIT I, another ‘self-portrait’ of the artist – this time a blurred photograph of the Malone’s face as reflected in a fragment of a famous 1930 Brassai photograph of Paris graffiti, accompanied by an unframed photograph of the work’s wall plaque from the Musée d’Art Moderne.

For Peter Robinson’s Ritual and Transformation (2013) a vast collection of felt sticks occupy a wall of the gallery. The forms collapse into each other to suggest a kind of transmutation where materials are stretched, extended, layered, or compressed beyond their particular perimeters. The layers of black, grey and white play on the eye to vertiginous effect, and the forms evoke a dizzying flood of references – strands of DNA, city towers launching out of smaller buildings, and lines of disintegrating binary code. As individual objects the poles feel totemic or ceremonial, while their formation is war-like; an armory of weapons, a palisade, or fortification.

Mikala Dwyer (1959, Sydney) has studied at Sydney College of the Arts; Middlesex Polytechnic, London; College of Fine Art, University of N.S.W; and UDK, Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include: Drawing Down the Moon, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2012); The Silvering, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne (2011); Costumes and Empty Sculptures, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2008); The Addition and Subtractions and the Hanging Garden, Kunstraum, Potsdam (2007). Her work has been included in group exhibitions such as: Less is More, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2012); NETWORKS (cells & silos), Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2011); Monanism, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania (2011); The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010); Before and After Science, 2010 Biennial of Australian Art, Adelaide (2010); Mirror Mirror: Then and Now, Verge Gallery, Sydney; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Samstag Museum of Art, University of Adelaide, Adelaide (2009).

Daniel Malone (1970, Greymouth) is currently based in Warsaw, Poland. Recent solo exhibitions include: The Proof Reader / Sledz Zmiany, Foksal Gallery, Warsaw (2013); A Communist Kiosk in a Common Market, Hopkinson Cundy, Auckland (2012); Upadajac / Powstajac, Uprising / Downrising, Kordegarda, Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw (2008). Malone’s work has been included in major group exhibitions worldwide including: A Few Practical Ways, Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw (2013); Made Active: The Chartwell Show, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland (2012); No, No, I Hardly Ever Miss a Show, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2012); Fokus Łódż Biennale, Łódż (2010); The Secret Circles of Toruń, Centre for Contemporary Art, Toruń (2010); and Unpacking My Library, Te Tuhi, Auckland (2010).

Dane Mitchell (1976, Auckland) graduated from Auckland University of Technology in 1998. Recent solo exhibitions include: Conservation of Mass, RaebervonStenglin, Zurich (2013); Sassa Truelzsch, Berlin (2013); Radiant Matter III, Artspace, Auckland (2011); Radiant Matter II, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin (2011); Radiant Matter Part I, Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2011); Minor Optics, daadgalerie, Berlin (2009); and Conjuring Form, Art Statements, Basel (2008). Mitchell’s work has been included in major group exhibitions worldwide including: Liverpool Biennial (2012); Gwangju Biennale (2012); Singapore Biennial (2011); and Busan Biennale (2010). He has participated in residency programs at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin (2011); Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2010); Berliner Künstlerprogramm DAAD, Berlin (2009/2010); and Gasworks, London (2008).

Peter Robinson (1966, Ashburton, Kai Tahu/Pakeha) studied sculpture at Ilam School of Fine Arts (1985-1989), and now lives and works in Auckland. Robinson’s work has been exhibited extensively in New Zealand and internationally. He represented New Zealand at the 49th Venice Biennale (2001) and participated in the 11th and 18th Biennale of Sydney (1998/2012), the 8th Baltic Triennale of International Art, Vilnius (2002), and the 23rd Sao Paulo Biennale (1996). Recent solo exhibitions include: Polymer Monoliths, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2009); Polymer Monolith 1, Artspace, Sydney (2009); Snow Ball Blind Time, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2008); ACK, Artspace, Auckland (2006); The Humours, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin (2006); Divine Comedy, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland (2001-2002); and Bad Aachen ideas, Ludwig Forum fur Internationale Kunst, Aachen (1995).