Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Final

Today is the last day that Thermostat Art Gallery in Palmerston North will be open.

It's a sad day, not just for all the artists who have shown at Thermostat, but for all the people who have discovered new artists and/or bought work from Thermostat, and for contemporary art in Palmerston North.

It's also a happy day because it marks the start of something new for Catherine, who ran Thermostat, and Simon, her co-conspirator.

My association with Thermostat goes back to 10 July 2003. They had, I believe, recently moved from a small space on Rangitikei St to their current lovely space on the Square. I was, most probably, on my way back from seeing Ava Seymour's New Work & Heartlands at McNamara Gallery Photography. I pulled up a little after 4pm to discover they closed at 4pm. Just as I was standing in the doorway wondering what whether to try the door and head on up or not, a jovial, bearded man open the door and led the way. This man, I was to find out, was Simon.

I climbed the stairs and entered the gallery. It was a minor hive of activity as people had just arrived to help take down the show. Good timing on my part then. The show was one of Thermostat's annual Vent shows, Vent 2 in this case.

I can't remember much about that show apart from one work, a large mixed media drawing called untitled (Inevitable Accident) by Palmerston North artist Naga Tsutsumi. It was intriguing. It was beautiful. I kept going back to it. He had another large piece on the other side of the central divider in the gallery, which while good, just didn't hold me to the same degree.

At some point Catherine popped out and started chatting to me. I knew who she was thanks to a show or two she'd had at Photospace Gallery. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that Catherine was aware of my shows at Photospace too.

Shortly after we were discussing the work in the gallery, and I rashly admitted my liking for one of the works. Shortly after I was heading to a money machine to get the cash to buy it. I has graced bedrooms at three different houses (though, at present is in storage).

Around this time I was making near-monthly trips to Whanganui to see what McNamara had on show and so started making Thermostat a regular stop too.

Sometime after, I started showing Catherine bits of work and she offered me my own exhibition. Initially I was going to be showing with Leigh Mitchell-Anyon but that didn't pan out. Instead I exhibited with a Palmerston North photographer Rob Corrigale. Of A Comfortable Night’s Sleep opened on 19 February 2005 and is one of the best shows I've ever had, one of the ones I'm most proud of.

A later show, the wonderful religious studies, a 2007 collaboration between myself, David Boyce, and Jodi Ruth Keet is also one I'm very proud of. Not only did the quite different pieces by the three of us work together really well, they also fitted the space superbly. It was a shame we never tried to show that elsewhere.

For me, three more shows were to follow, three Vent shows, Dark (2007), Blue (2009), and Nautical (2010). The first two were a chance to play, the last one a chance to reshow some older work.

I've been popping up to Palmerston North less lately, partly because of work commitments, partly because of the price of petrol, but whenever I've popped in, whether alone or with friends, Catherine and Simon have always been inviting. There have been many lunches/cups of tea out back amongst their own art collection.

I've continued to buy work from Catherine (even as I type, I'm contemplating inquiring about a couple of pieces) and enjoy discovering new artists - Naga (of course), Rachel Garland, Catherine MacDonald, Israel Tangaroa Birch, Aimee Ratana, Ngataiharuru Taepa, Saffronn Te Ratana, and others, all of whom I wish I had bought works by, some of whom I did.

I am truly saddened by the closure of Thermostat Art Gallery, it will be a loss from my cultural landscape, but at the same time I'm happy that Catherine and Simon are closing for the right reasons, just because they feel it is time.

Three weeks ago was the final opening. It was a lovely affair, a strong turn out, and a fabulous meal afterwards. It still hasn't sunk in properly, but no doubt next time I find myself in Palmerston North wandering from Bruce McKenzies, past the Anton Parsons, to the white door leading upstairs at 155 The Square it will hit me. The door may or may not be open, but whatever awaits at the top of the stairs just won't be the same.

Thanks for everything Catherine, from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Sign

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The NotQuiteABridge

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Bridge

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Bridge

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Bridge

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Blown

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Receiving

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Windy

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Protective

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Driven

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Symbolic

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Duo

In February I spent a couple of days in Christchurch. This place was across the road from where I was staying.

I took this before we went out one morning.

For a reason which I no longer remember I felt I needed to photograph it again when we got back.

I don't think it adds anything.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Pointer

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Memorial

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Beautiful