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Exhibitions – Galleries – Studios – Street Art – Art in Public Places – Ōtautahi Christchurch and Canterbury
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Katrina Beekhuis Pensieri

Reviewed by Harriet Litten

Shadows of real life hung in an exhibition space; a shirt on a coat hanger, a cupboard, a pin board – among others – reminiscent of relatable ‘mundanities ’ of everyday life.  Yet, in this exhibition installation artist Katrina Beekhuis reduced such objects to their most formal, minimal elements. A pale colour palette drew each object in the space closely together, while their explorations of transparency, visibility and texture pushed them back apart.

Underpinning these minimal, formal explorations, Beekhuis’ installation embodied a room between mediums.  Donald Judd explored the relationship between painting and sculpture, and what it is that sits in between.  In his 1965 essay ‘Specific Objects’, Judd speaks to work that is “neither painting nor sculpture”. He states that these works, while unsettled in either of these definitive states, are usually “related, closely or distantly, to one or the other”. [i] It was from the tension between these two states that Beekhuis provoked the viewer.

The minimalist aesthetic of Pensieri offered the suggestion that figurative recognition of the objects was not the end goal. Rather, the viewer was offered a chance to look more deeply, to discover a broader range of meanings in the ‘blankness’.  Stripping these objects of their conventional use – for instance, a blind without a window – ensured that these simple works pulled into question our expectations of an art installation, encouraging the viewer to engage in a conversation about perception and interpretation.

The Ilam Campus Gallery seemed the perfect place for Beekhuis’ reduced realities. The utility and simplicity of the space is not overpowered by, and does not overpower a minimal aesthetic, instead, each highlights the other. Beekhuis’ works appeared as intricate wallflowers, waiting to be discovered and explored by the viewer.  And once they were, their wisdom was revealed.  In Pensieri, Katrina Beekhuis offered viewers a figurative – if not nearly literal - blank canvas, upon which to explore their own perceptions of the world.

Katrina Beekhuis Pensieri

Ilam Campus Gallery, off Clyde Road

 10 October – 2 November 2018

 

[i] Donald Judd, “Specific Objects,“ Arts Yearbook 8 (1965)

 

 

Installation artist Katrina Beekhuis' Pensieri offers up a figurative, if not nearly literal, blank canvas

 
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