Tim Melville is currently presenting On the Lam, Christina Pataialii’s first exhibition with the gallery.
In this suite of a dozen paintings in acrylic and house-paint on canvas drop-cloth the artist examines her experience growing up in working class migrant communities in Auckland’s western and central suburbs.
Pataialii considers the sense of mobility attached to that experience while at the same time questioning historical notions of ‘single’ cultural identities. On the Lam is an acknowledgement of the complexity of inheritance and collective nostalgia.
Pataialii uses motifs from urban and rural landscapes – rugby posts, picket fences, window curtains, smokestacks and maunga – abstracting and rearranging them to create poised and potent artworks loaded with dynamic formal energy.
In a review of Pataialii’s critically acclaimed 2018 exhibition, Solid Gold, at Te Tuhi, ArtAsiaPacific writer Wei Hao Qi described the artist’s imagery as not only highlighting the sociocultural narratives that exclude certain groups, but also as being an exploration of diversity, community and the contemporary politics of nationalism.
Referring to the artist’s technique in a text accompanying the same exhibition, Te Tuhi’s Artistic Director Gabriela Salgado writes: “Pataialii’s palette is both exuberant and restrained.
Colour attracts the eye, but unsettles the viewer with unexpected imagery […] A relation to time and movement could recall abstract expressionism, but, while acknowledging the legacy of action painting, Pataialii shies away from the masculine overtones of that movement and the weight of western art history […] Politicised and humorous at once, free gestures such as these dismantle the restrictions held around all traditions.”
“These mink works operate at multiple levels of familiarity, bringing to mind, first and foremost, the blankets common to homes across Aotearoa; soft, warm and picked up cheaply from the local Warehouse” Christina Pataialii
Christina Pataialii was born in 1988 in Auckland, graduated with a BFA in 2015 and an MFA in 2018 from Whitecliffe College of Arts and design.