Sarah Matthew has something to say, but she’s not giving away exactly what.
“Art should pull the viewer out of their comfort zone,” she said at the recent opening of her Icons to Extinction exhibition at the Community Heritage & Arts Village Gallery.
“It should challenge people to think for themselves.”
Inside white framed poster boards are digitally constructed prints of “Rose brand bat brains with wood rose gravy”, “honest to goodness Rakitu weka pies” and “Titi concentrated mutton bird soup”, with nods to the works of Andy Warhol and Barbara Kruger; promises that “you can make a fortune breeding frogs for frog legs with Aotea Frog Canning Company” and Greetings from Aotea “you will be 10% happier here”; “Branded Kōkopu” in a sardine tin; ‘Pantone’ colours in shades of yellow (Shame) and army green (Whakamā) and William Morris-like wallpaper designs with native flowers, birds and rats.
There’s a wind-up kiwi that bangs its head on a brick wall, bolted up Nature Heritage books, and outtakes from sacking that supposedly contained “Barrier Whaling Co. Ltd. Whale Meal Stock Food.”
“Some is real, some is made up. I’ve used appropriation to create familiarity, tried to make it look cosha.
“At the end of the day, Nature is the currency. Funders and government bodies use it for advocacy and outreach. Marketing companies will make it into a print.
“I’m sure the irony will not be lost on you that while I’m talking about consumerism and Nature, I am also producing things for sale. Artists call it ‘the hustle’.”
Judging by the number of red stickers appearing below the works, she is succeeding.
The ‘Extinction to Icon’ exhibition runs until Wednesday 15th March.
The art gallery is open 10am – 4pm 7 days a week
Story by Tim Higham
Check out Sarah K Matthew and gallery events here – Great Barrier Island Community Heritage & Arts Village