loosely based on a series of….(kind of, but not really) Review by Martyn Pepperell vanguardredmagazine.co.nz 20/3/2012

In the weekend, suddenly struck by a sense of having spent too much time working, and not enough time living, I decided to get amongst it all for a couple of days. I had some pretty big nights in the process and was in bed by 8.30pm on Sunday, but it was worth it.

Along the way, on Saturday night, I decided to get my Harry Smith on, and do some proper field research. In layman’s terms, this means shut the f^&k up and let the new people you’ve just met school you on their world, and their frame of reference. As a result, I was introduced to the art of Dunedin’s Jay Hutchinson, which viewed under the same light as my recent post about UK visual artist Christopher Labrooy, seems to form a continuum of sorts.

Academically decorated with a Masters from the Dunedin school of Art, Hutchinson currently runs a gallery down there called, somewhat hilariously A Gallery. Initially described to me as a tattooed punk hip-hop kid, and then a Jack Johnson style singer songwriter, I suspect he is quite the character. The descriptive language used about him, and the enthusiasm people spoke of him with lead to me, come Monday, getting my google on.

What I discovered was a series of works which speak on a multiplicity of levels, or as NZ Style Collective put it, “Through a meditative, labour intensive process Dunedin artist, Jay Hutchinson creates works which combine a delinquent nostalgia with a thoughtfully articulated conceptual backbone.”

To cut to the chase, he creates pieces which on first glance look like everyday school books, all tagged up by a bored (possibly stoned) teenager, who may or may not also indulge in in-class fingerboarding, and maybe even hiding iPod buds in their ears under impressive dreadlocks. On closer inspection though, it turns out that his classically adolescent book graffiti, has actually been painstakingly hand stitched onto digitally printed silk.

As you’re probably realising, this theoretical framework f^&ks with convention heavily. It suggests age reversals, gender role reversals, and blurs the line between fine and street art. In this thing we call life, nothing is every really concretely one or the other, it’s always a lot of this and a little of that, or visa versa. Hutchinson’s work holds a candle to this dualism and we should salute him for it.

You can view a gallery of his works to the left. Afterwards, check out the website for A Gallery below.



Published by agallerypresents.com

Conceived as a two-year project, ‘a gallery’ opened in February 2011 at 393 Princes Street, Dunedin and closed in September 2012. Strategically placed south of the center of town nestled between tattoo studios, sex shops and a needle exchange. What was integral in the selection of the gallery space was that it would be able to be viewed from the street through the street level floor to ceiling windows. This would allow the artists showing to be exposed not only to viewers visiting the gallery, but also those walking past, as a gallery was to represent artists that did not fit within the commercial gallery context or the so called experimental project space’s, this would be the best way to expose a particular group of artists selected by gallery curator/manager Jay Hutchinson, artists he respected and admired and felt were not being represented in the gallery scene at the time.

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