Artist: Kate Newby
Exhibition title: Nothing that’s over so soon should give you that much strength
Venue: Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen, Norway
Date: November 9, 2018 – January 13, 2019
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Hordaland Kunstsenter
Hordaland Kunstsenter is excited and proud to present Kate Newby´s first solo exhibition in Scandinavia.
Kate Newby´s works for the exhibition at Hordaland kunstsenter are characterised by a keen understanding of the place. Each work has either been created on site, or integrated meticulously into its environment.
Starting with the building itself, Newby opened up four windows of the gallery space, bringing daylight back into the room, allowing the surroundings to become a part of the exhibition itself. As the windows have been permanently closed since 2002, the calculated gesture of breaking them open feels liberating, but at the same time provokes a feeling of brute-force.
Hundreds of meters of rope, specially produced by a local rope factory, are coiled through two holes that are cut in the newly opened gallery windows. The rope physically connects the inside of the gallery with the outdoors and embraces the building with its length.
On the gallery floor, more spaces are pried open. Nearly a thousand metal wedges are hammered in between the wooden floorboards. The wedges are all single-handedly shaped in wax before they are casted in brass, copper and silver. Between the rapid making of the wax forms, the casting process, and the wedges being hammered into dusty, old floorboards, the work not only seems to deal with a physical interruption, but that of time as well.
In the entrance area, three framed etchings are part of an on-going series of prints by Newby. For this series, she leaves wax-coated copper plates out in the ‘open’ for several days to be affected by weather and daily life. On a city-centre rooftop in Bergen, in the forest around Fløyen, and on a small pathway behind the art centre, birds and cats interacted with the etching plates. When processed and inked, the traces left on the copper
The final work is to be found outside the art centre, next to the distinct blue bench. Newby duplicated cobblestones and replaced the originals with new ones entirely made out of glass. Incorporated into the glass cobblestones, a drain has been laid out. The hard cut shape of this presented drain is similar to the ones typical in Bergen.
To break open and to create routes, paths and cavities is a recurring gesture not only in this exhibition, but also in Newby´s practice in general. A leading gesture, but the question is, leading to or from where?
The title Nothing that’s over so soon should give you that much strength offers a point of entry for the viewer, and guides you through the exhibition experience. Through seemingly small gestures, Newby´s works are both impactful and bold. They convey a sense of permanency, whilst they still surrender to weather, chance and circumstance.
Kate Newby (b. 1979 in Auckland) graduated with a Doctor of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland in 2015. She was awarded New Zealand’s largest contemporary art prize, Walter’s Prize in 2012. Recent exhibitions include A puzzling light and moving, The Lumber Room, Portland (2018-2019); All the stuﬀ you already know, The Sunday Painter, London (2018); I can’t nail the days down, Kunsthalle Wien (2018); the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018); Swift little verbs pushing the big nouns around, Michael Lett, Auckland (2018); Let me be the wind that pulls your hair, Artpace, San Antonio (2017); The January February March, The Poor Farm, Wisconsin (2016); Two aspirins a vitamin C tablet and some baking soda, Laurel Doody, Los Angeles (2015); I feel like a truck on a wet highway, Lulu, Mexico City (2014); Maybe I won‘t go to sleep at all., La Loge, Brussels (2013).