November 13, 2010 - Govett-Brewster Art Gallery - Alex Monteith’s Accelerated Geographies
November 13, 2010

Alex Monteith’s Accelerated Geographies

Alex Monteith, “Composition with No.3 Squadron Exercise Blackbird for three-channel video installation,” 2010.
RNZAF pilots Jane & Reichardt and crewman Tauai taking off in No.05 Iroquois at Dip Flat as part of the 3-ship flight that comprises the artwork (during Ex Blackbird 2010).
Photo by Sarah Munro.

ALEX MONTEITH: ACCELERATED GEOGRAPHIES
25 September 2010 – 28 November 2010

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Corner King and Queen Streets
Private Bag 2025
New Plymouth
New Zealand
www.govettbrewster.com

Alex Monteith’s time-based works offer a direct and real-time encounter with speed, slowness, endurance and high performance using a visual language of remarkable compositional clarity and powerful scale. Motorcycle racing, free-surfing, aerobatic flying and actions related to Tino Rangatiratanga (Māori sovereignty) are all investigated. Monteith brings an interest in these activities that seek a balance with the dynamics and geopolitical potencies of air, sea and land.

My practice is essentially post-object and post-studio in orientation. Simultaneously it often reflects on the politics, limits and freedoms of contemporary human activity at the threshold of geographical or territorial extremes. In particular, I am interested in cultures whose activity-base is sensitive—radically sensitive—to the physicality of larger landscapes. – Alex Monteith

This is only the third time in the Govett-Brewster’s 40-year history that the entire Gallery has been dedicated to a single artist. Monteith follows Leon Narbey in 1970 and Peter Robinson in 2008 in offering a Gallery-wide encounter.

Through her work, Monteith penetrates the physical and psychological space of individual and collective performative action. Her empathetic ability to work alongside high-performance practitioners in so many fields results in art works of tremendous beauty, power and magnetism. Further, her practice enters the realm of psychogeography, as coined by Debord to describe ‘the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals’.

Presenting a constellation of Monteith’s practice to date, Accelerated Geographies premieres two new works. Her most recent project was developed this year with the Royal New Zealand Air Force No.3 Squadron and involved Iroquoi helicopters and crew undergoing alpine ‘Search and Rescue’ training at Dip Flat in the South Island. The second premiered work was performed and recorded in Taranaki on Waitangi Day in 2009 with the Local Time collective at Parihaka and incorporated two Land Rovers and two Tino Rangitiratanga flags. This carefully measured work registers the possibility of personal gesture within a wider environment of political protest.

Also performed and recorded in Taranaki is Monteith’s elegiac meditation on surfing and localism shot at one of Taranaki’s renowned surfing point-breaks, Stent Road. The Red Sessions series of works involved over 60 surfers filmed during the summer of 2009.

To accompany the exhibition, the Govett-Brewster will publish a monograph on Monteith’s practice with new writing by Danny Butt, Jon Bywater, Jan Bryant, Rhana Devenport and Sean Cubitt, as well as material sourced from magazine and blog culture. This publication has received major support from Creative New Zealand while the development of new works in the exhibition have been supported by Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland.

This exhibition is curated by Gallery Director Rhana Devenport.

Biography

Alex Monteith has been actively involved in arts practice and discourse in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally; winning the Arts Foundation New Generation Artist Award in 2008. Monteith was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1977 and moved to Palmerston North in 1987 with her family. Monteith completed a BFA in Photography, an MFA in Intermedia and the Time Based Arts and a DocFA at The University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts where she now lectures. Monteith featured in the New Artland TVNZ 7 series with the RNZAF Red Checkers project in 2009 and her work was included in the 4th Auckland Triennial earlier this year. She currently features as one of four finalists in the Walters Prize 2010 at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. A competitive surfer for six years, Monteith was the Irish National Women’s Champion in 2001 and has competed on the New Zealand, European and world circuits.

Alex Monteith's Accelerated Geographies
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