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Llenyd Price, Michael Lowe, Elise McDermott: Ecologies of Scale

Llenyd Price, Michael Lowe, Elise McDermott: Ecologies of Scale

July 2, 2022 @ 10:00 am August 3, 2022 @ 4:00 pm

Your affordable urban oasis awaits. Freshly developed with modern features, jump on the property escalator and become the proud owner of this charming family home. Don’t mind the discarded materials and rubble in the frame, these will be out of sight and mind once you take your first step through that heavy, shrink-wrap protected front door. We figured you might appreciate how BRAND NEW this hidden gem is — after all, what is home but a six-figure return on investment!

Combining discarded offcuts from the construction industry, unconventional uses of mundane materials, and a general sense of late capitalist malaise, Ecologies of Scale explores feelings of helplessness when faced with an insatiable property market, the legitimate need for housing, and the inability to reconcile these challenges sustainably in the current economic climate. 

Beneath the surface of pristine new builds and urban housing developments lies the hidden ecological costs of material waste and overproduction, a reality we are all aware of yet feel entrapped by in order to live affordably in an ever-growing city. Economies of scale refers to the dynamic whereby mass production of a commodity lowers the cost of individual units, so long as there is a surplus of demand in the market; when demand for a commodity such as housing is at an all-time high, it is more economical to create waste products than to conserve on material expenditure.

In this exhibition, Michael Lowe brings his experience in the urban design and architecture industries to task in the production of the sculpture ‘Bottomless skip’; the remaining use value of discarded construction materials are re-employed by Elise McDermott to unpack notions of ownership and purpose in relation to physical objects, and sensitive compositions of cement, repurposed wood, wall filler and other urban substances form abstract environments in the paintings of Llenyd Price. By subverting the expected use-value of building materials, these emerging artists re-present the fabric of Tāmaki Makaurau’s built environment in ways that highlight the unnecessary by-products of necessary urban growth.

About the Artists

Llenyd Price

Llenyd Price is a recent MFA graduate from Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design. Within their practice Llenyd deals with issues concerning land in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Through learning about the native flora of Aotearoa, they found ways to access areas which were rich in native biodiversity; these locations were, a majority of the time, close to home. Areas of landscape depicted are found scattered alongside building construction zones which edge into the natural ecosystems. Llenyd explores these fleeting spaces as a constant documentation of the ever manipulated landscape of Aotearoa.

Through an internal questioning of self-identity, Llenyd would investigate their own place in relation to whenua (landscape). With an interest in the natural bush near their home in Kirikiriroa, Llenyd quickly realised that the natural history of Aotearoa was layered and conflicted. Llenyd attempts to highlight these issues through an investigation of landscape painting. Paintings made derive from drawings, memories and photographs taken from specific locations within the Waikato where they have been walking and exploring. Llenyd has shown recently at Sanderson, oddly, RM Gallery and Project Space and DEMO. 

Michael Lowe

Michael Lowe is a New Zealand artist working across fine arts, architecture, and urban design at Studio Pacific Architecture. His cross-disciplinary background in urban regeneration and public space design brings a fresh approach to his practice. Michael is represented by Föenander Galleries (Auckland) as a painter of ‘constructed’ surreal landscapes where his work explores how people attribute value to the ‘natural environment’, and how we decide what is the ‘vernacular landscape’ in a post-colonial context. Lowe holds a MoA (Prof.) and BAS from Victoria University Wellington. 

Elise McDermott

The work of New Zealand artist and recent graduate of Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design Elise McDermott is an exploration of unassuming materials and substances found in urban environments. She reworks materials in a way that emphasizes their value within form; objects that are usually discarded when they don’t serve their practical purpose any longer. In addition, she also uses color as a tool to incite a sense of connection between the work and the viewer. A past experience or idea is shaped by the materials, objects, and surfaces within it, re-composing them into a two-dimensional area or three-dimensional space helps to bring the viewer’s emotional reaction to the work into question. 

Elise’s installation and sculpture methods include the use of various found objects or construction materials including wood, metals, plaster, paint and household pieces. Meanwhile, her digital artworks are comprised of real-life imagery and painterly linework. She often finds inspiration in historical archives and settings in her surrounding area.

28 Clarence Street, Devonport
Auckland, 0624 New Zealand
09-963 2331
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