Ornamental Friends brings together five very different artists with the aim of creating fertile and unexpected conversations. The artworks featured are rich in their materiality, marked by sheen and shifting colour. The exhibition as a whole is suffused with romance, imagination, and wit. It provokes awe and curiosity, and invites deep reflection.
Based on stills from original films, Hamish Coleman’s paintings possess a quality of wistfulness and mystery. They find the extraordinary in the everyday, and hint at complex narratives stretching beyond their margins. Lucy Meyle’s sculptures evoke skins, shells, and clothes—entities that conceal, distort, embellish, or protect. They play with bagginess and exaggeration, acknowledging imprecision in concepts and categories. Moniek Schrijer’s adornments are elegant and bold, glamorous and gritty. They often develop out of found entities, bewitching them, or introducing an edge of fierceness. Maia McDonald’s sparkling uku hooks act as supports but are independently powerful, drawing on natural and human-shaped forms. Similarly, Samuel Te Kani’s writing speaks to the other works in the show, while maintaining a voice and temperament all its own.
LISTEN: Catholic Taste by Samuel Te Kani. A short story in response to the works in Ornamental Friends. Read by Francis McWhannell.