Blue Nonage

Hendrik Kerstens | Beverly Rhodes | Catherine Bagnall & Aliscia Young

Curated by Claudia Arozqueta

26 September - 18 October 2014


Blue Nonage


Hendrik Kerstens

Bag, 2007


600 x 500mm


Blue Nonage refers to Thomas Gainsborough’s iconic portrait Blue Boy, c. 1770 – considered as homage to Anthony Van Dyck – which depicts an eighteenth century boy dressed in seventeenth century costumes as a figure of nostalgia. In the same manner, the four contemporary artists in this exhibition partake in a conceptual dialogue with the past and childhood, free of any idealization. In these works, infancy is more a window into vulnerability and impermanence than to every day ideals of early age.

For the last eighteen years Dutch photographer Hendrik Kerstens has created a series of photographs using his daughter as the subject. His portraits are inspired by classic painters: Paula appears in some photographs depicted in the style of Jan van Eyck’s, Petrus Christus’ or Johannes Vermeer’s paintings. She wears traditional Dutch caps or truncated hennins but uncannily created with contemporary domestic objects such as lampshades, servilities, plastic bags or toilet paper.

Similarly to eighteenth century painters, Wellington artist Beverly Rhodes creates images of young girls and boys using minimal backgrounds and a visual acuity in body language and facial expressions. Rhodes’ silent and isolated subjects are of a phantasmagoric nature, perhaps trapped by uncomfortable memories.

Catherine Bagnall’s self-portraits – created in collaboration with photographer Aliscia Young – document some of her long tramps in remote parts of New Zealand, wearing self-designed vintage clothes or animal suits. As a child playing dress-up, Bagnall allows role-play and the illusion of becoming other.

Claudia Arozqueta