A Gallery Presents a General Edition publication ‘Landfill’ using a 1999 copy of the Otago University Arts Journal ‘Landfall’ as a template. Dunedin artist Jay Hutchinson worked with designer Gilbert May to design and produce this limited edition publication.
Hutchinson’s art practice involves photographing and collecting trash from the street, finding compositions in the discarded, forgotten and thrown away. After a piece of trash is collected from the street it is printed on fabric and slowly hand stitched, recreating rubbish into elaborate textile works.
‘Landfill’ contains a selection of Hutchinson’s work spanning the last six years presented in the style and format of the ‘Landfall’ publication. The publication includes short stories, essays, found objects and poetry blended together with risograph duotones.
The writers and contributors include Milly Mitchell-Anyon, Sarah McClintock, Michael Steven, Richard Reeve, Gilbert May and those who have have dropped countless empty beer cans, lolly wrappers, greasy boxes and other miscellaneous objects.
Brains with faces, flawed families, smoking dogs, self-portraits, and Liz (Queen Elizabeth II), the Rayner Brothers are back for another outing at Olga with their slightly outre ceramics. This time the “Circus” features Otepoti Dunedin-based artist Jay Hutchinson’s well-known embroidered works of found rubbish (screen-printed on to fabric and embroidered).
With more than a nod to the recently deceased Queen, Olga exhibits four ceramic statues of Liz wearing a bright yellow dress, hat, handbag, and pearl earrings by Mark Rayner, and one statue by both Mark and Paul Rayner. This collaborative work is the last in a semantic-physical transformation in which Liz becomes part lizard, with a yellow skirt her last human vestige. The other contemporary event Mark Rayner addresses is the monkey pox virus (a monkey covered in red spots). Perhaps also afflicted with monkey pox is the endearingly-titled Sad Orange Crystal Boy (2022), a hairless boy-man with big ears, a wide-mouthed smile, baby blue eyes, and yes, predominantly red spots on his torso and face. Both brothers present several self-portraits wearing t-shirt with slogans, while Paul Rayner also offers three Jesus Saves money boxes in time for Christmas.
Exhibited among this melange of troubled and cheerfully perverse characters are Hutchinson’s embroidered works in clear frames. Perhaps there are less Jimmy’s pie bags around at this time of the year, as Hutchinson has shifted his focus to lolly wrappers (Fruit Bursts and Milkshakes), a Rashuns bag, and the ultimate hint of summer, a Fruju wrapper. Insert summer jingle and check it out.
A Jellytip wrapper is a find for Jay Hutchinson. For the artist trash is fine art. He began to notice discarded stuff, and was “drawn to the colour and the nostalgic relationship I have with the products.” ‘Embroiderer/graffiti artist Hutchinson wants his work to encourage other people to pay more more attention to their environment.
His work explores “urban environments, brand nostalgia, mass consumption and the decaying environment.” His embroideries brings together a mix of textiles, including sewing silk, cotton drill cloth, and urban materials such as tarmac slabs, steel, and concrete, to illustrate pieces of trash found around cities. Hutchinson says, “I don’t embroider every piece that I pick up; however I do try to pick up every piece that I come across, much to my wife’s dismay.”
Hutchinson originally went to art school to paint graffiti on big canvases, but after being nudged into a craft diploma at Otago Polytechnic, he found his love for hand stitching. He finds the methodical process of hand embroidery “a great way to relax and calm my mind as I get satisfaction out of the stitch by stitch progression.”
The Dunedin artist admires the work of Fiona Connor, Glen Hayward and Dene Barnes, which help inspire his pieces. While he finds the trash at random, he abides by a set of parameters and rules, including sticking to one area at a time. “The trash sets the theme for the exhibition, I love seeing the different types of trash disposed of in different areas of the city.”
Currently, Hutchinson has work on a group show at Fiksate Gallery in Christchurch and some being shown at Otago Museum in Southern People, Southern Land. He also has a project underway with Olga Gallery in Dunedin opening in November.
A new limited edition of nine, hand stitched ‘blue Zig-Zag paper packets’ is currently on show and available to purchase from Fiksate Gallery in Christchurch. Based on one of the most littered object found in the Dunedin CBD the iconic blue Zig-zag paper packet, in various states of distress and damage. Each work is a one off, signed and numbered on the reverse. The works are hand-stitched on digitally printed cotton drill, framed using archival materials, and UV70 glass. Contact the gallery through their website for more information http://www.Fiksate.com
SOLD OUT “Break Glass, hand embroidery on cotton drill, framed in a red box frame 135mm x 135mm” limited edition of three, signed and numbered. Enhances any work space, doorway or workshop. Available from email@example.com #handembroidery #alarm #breakglass
One of the potential aims of art is to make people look again at things that they would normally disregard — to view things in a new, unexpected light — and in doing so to see them as if for the first time. This is a major feature of the fabric and installation art of Jay Hutchinson.
Hutchinson’s work takes the throwaway, literally, and raises it to a level where it is no longer worthless. Using as his subject discarded scraps and rubbish found on his daily journeys, he reclaims the items by recreating them and reinventing them as intricate and attractive embroidered pieces. This allows us to appreciate that even the detritus of everyday life can have its own surprising and subversive beauty.
Many of Hutchinson’s pieces are hand-embroidered in sewing silk on cotton drill cloth. Other, more massive, installations include urban materials such as tarmac slabs, steel and concrete. Hutchinson’s works subvert the norm, not by simply making high art from low art, but by making high art from scrap. While this makes us reappraise the everyday, it also posits the thought that rubbish, in all its accumulated glory, will become the epitaph of this civilisation, a Rosetta Stone or Bayeux Tapestry from which our history will be deciphered.