In a shift from previous exhibitions, where leading New Zealand artists were showcased entries for Autumn: call and response has been restricted to early career artists. These artists were challenged to create new, site specific work for the show - sculpture, installation, ephemera, performance or conceptual works that wrested with the challenges of The Sculpture Park, a rehabilitated quarry.
The 35 artists who have been invited to participate are engaging with different elements of the physical environment, environmental issues and/or the conceptual environment. Their works range from Auckland artist Veronica Herber's ephemeral, lace fabric tape installation, to London-based, 25 year old Kiwi, Ryan Monro and his work, R.I.P Greywacke, referencing the rock which was once mined at the quarry.
'Autumn: call and response' is curated by Auckland based artist and visual arts lecturer, Kim Paton. Her vision for the exhibition was to answer the question, "what can an artist add to this site that will be more beautiful, more interesting or more engaging than what is already present in the natural environment?" This proved to be a significant challenge for many artists, considering the site's extraordinary scale and natural beauty.
However, Paton was impressed by the response from artists and the confidence with which a new generation of artists who tackled their site specific work, engaging their sense to create innovative and thought-provoking exhibits. "These works will not be monumental as we have come to expect with outdoor sculpture, but rather seek to communicate with or connect to the environment in quite subtle contemplative ways", said Paton.
As part of the submission process, artists had the opportunity to win an Ebbett Prestige Environmental Award and receive financial assistance to create their work for Autumn: call and response. Corporate sponsor Ebbett Prestige released $3,000 in prize money, as seed funding to six lucky artists whose projects inspired environmental awareness and demonstrated a significant connection with either the site and/or environmental issues. Judged by highly regarded art consultant, Kate Darrow and curator Kim Paton the winning artists, all from Auckland are: Amber Pearson, Laura Marsh, Nik Blackburn, Taarati Taiairoa, Timothy Chapman and Veronica Herber.
The popular People's Choice Award, in which the public get to vote for their favourite work on display at Autumn; call and response, will be announced at a special ceremony when the exhibition closes in June. This Award is proudly sponsored by Calder & Lawson, House of Travel and the winning artist will receive a cash prize of $1000.