Chris Charteris + Emily Siddell
5 October - 2 November 2013
At first glance, the respective works of Emily Siddell and Chris Charteris seem quite disparate: Charteris works primarily in stone, crafting powerful sculptural pieces with weight and presence. By contrast, Siddell's works display a light delicacy and elegance, in affinity with her chosen mediums of glass and hand-formed ceramics. Siddell evokes the fluidity of water and flight; Charteris embraces the solidity of earth.
However, on closer inspection it becomes clear that the two artists share many common elements. Their clearly hand-worked pieces consistently display a high degree of technical skill, with textured surfaces that exude tactility and invite touch.
Both artists explore universal forms, as Charteris focuses on primal shapes that recall humanity's ancient interaction with the environment, while Siddell celebrates women's handcrafts and the global practice of decorating ourselves with intricate adornments.
They also share the practice of creating a unified whole from multiple components. Siddell's bags are made up of many individual angel wings - inspired by the angels in her father's paintings that graced the walls of her childhood home. Charteris extends a pattern of ridges and grooves across five separate stone slabs, giving the sense of a fragmented old artefact being reassembled.
Likewise, the works of Siddell and Charteris both combine cultural influences in ways that reflect the distinctive multiculturalism of New Zealand. The vibrant arts of the Pacific inspired Siddell during her Auckland upbringing, and she combines this influence with European craft skills in her bags - which are formed initially from crocheted fuse wire and recall both kete and handbags. Charteris' diverse Pacific heritage and influences give rise to work that bridges all divides, as he finds common threads running through many various cultures and draws them together.