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One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art

IF, as Oscar Wilde said, “one should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art”, then “extraterrestrial” drag performer Elibra Fleur must be a masterpiece. Sidebar goes here

At least she will be in the hands of artist Evan Woodruffe who, as part of his Auckland Art Fair show with Gisborne’s Paul Nache gallery, plans to enfold her in acres of silk crepe georgette printed with his own colourful painting. And she’s bound to make an impact: at over six feet six (two metres) tall, Fleur certainly fills the gallery brief of creating an installation in which scale plays a crucial role.

“Scale is absolutely the key and that will be seen in how we squeeze in Evan’s giant paintings that really push the limits at every point,” says gallery owner Matt Nache of preparations for next week’s fair.

“Then its about how those paintings function in the space with the works of our two other exhibitors, (painter) Scott Gardiner and (sculptor) Glen Hayward. It’s going to be really exciting.”

Regarded as New Zealand’s international showcase for contemporary art, the Auckland fair last year took a break but the year before PaulNache attended, its drawcard being Las Vegas-based artist Matthew Couper giving live painting demonstrations — dressed in an ape suit.

But while Nache says performance art like that and Fleur’s appearance in her printed garment (designed by Steven Ball) adds to the “spectacle”, it’s the art that’s important.

That garment will, in fact, become a piece of art – forming a sculpture where Fleur leaves it puddled on the floor and, as well as his canvases, Woodruffe has also painted a striking vintage armoire, further pushing the boundaries of what is a painting and what is not.

Meanwhile, Gardiner — who recently relocated from Gisborne to Sydney — continues to test his painting practice of setting hard, linear structures against soft impressions of life and movement.

And Hayward develops even further his sculptural trickery, whereby he sculpts and paints what appear to be everyday objects, testing the viewers’ belief of what is or is not real.

All three artists have exhibited in Gisborne over the past year

All three artists have exhibited in Gisborne over the past year and Nache says that’s important to exploring how they work as individuals, and together.

“Their works are striking but there’s more to it than that. All three also have an intelligent, articulate way of speaking of their work to a broad audience so they can educate people about their works if they want to go that little bit deeper.”

Adding to his physical dealer gallery in Gisborne by attending national and international art fairs “is an opportunity to network and develop that global view”, Nache says.

“Our aim is always to put together an installation that is captivating but we also love to have an element of unpredicatablity and spontaneity,” Matt Nache says.

“What gets us excited is the oppor-tunity to create these ideas and use the art fair as a platform to launch the show both nationally and internationally to see how far we can take it.”

  • The 2016 Auckland Art Fair is on at The Cloud (Queen’s Wharf) on May 25-29. Evan Woodruffe, Scott Gardiner and Glen Hayward present an artists’ talk at the Paul Nache booth A3 on May 28 (1pm).

ARTS by Kristine Walsh, The Gisborne Herald