A Conversation between 2 People
Date: Nov 5 – Nov 11Space: Small Gallery
Ashton Jamieson and Sandra Howlett are artists and teachers. Both teaching at Sacred Heart College as well as pursuing their own art practice.
Everyday, they have conversations around art – both the students and their own. This translates into artworks while distinctly different, converse to each other in a contrasting yet complimentary manner.
Come by to see Duologue, on in our beautiful Small Gallery from November 5, 2021.
Artist Biography – Ashton Jamieson
An art praxis that aligns with ‘The Bricoleur’:
‘(Her) universe of instruments is closed and the rules of (her) game are always to make do with “whatever is at hand”, that is to say with a set of tools and materials which is always finite’ (Levi-Strauss, 1962).
I am a Hawke’s Bay girl at heart, growing up in the small rural village of Takapau in CHB – where I served as a devoted Girl Guide alongside my sisters and learned of my imagination as my most valuable tool. As a teenager I was sent to an all-girls Catholic boarding school in Napier, where I was introduced to rules, routine, ritual (and chores) that have ever since surfaced within my sacred art methodologies.
After living abroad in Europe and then completing my tertiary studies in Wellington and Napier – I returned to the Art Deco Capital of New Zealand; where I now reside as an artist, teacher of Visual Arts at Sacred Heart College. I thrive on acquainting students with their own creative forces.
I am obsessed with paper, thread, pre-loved domestic objects and above all my process. Ladies with collaged armour from repurposed magazines form the paper soldiers in ‘Ashton’s Army’ – a growing collection that is the product of my femmage -based methodology and regime, where strict rules converse with my innate studio happenings and scraps are saved and sorted as precious items.
I seek to contribute and further nourish an enduring historical and contemporary feminine language; as the decorative, quiet-yet-quirky revolution that my practice is and continues to become.
 A Bricoleur is a ‘French handyman who has a limited set of tools that he uses to solve any problem’ (Tansey et al., 1993).
 Femmage is a word invented by artists Miriam Schapiro and Melissa Meyer in the 1970’s to describe a contemporary art practice that encapsulates a vast array of traditional and domestic materials and processes used by women throughout history. ‘Drawing’ techniques such as collage, assemblage, photomontage, scrapbooking, quilting and needlework (to name a few) are examples where the activity of saving and collecting are important ingredients in creating a secret language for an ‘audience of intimates.’ (Broude, 1980).
Artist Biography – Sandra Howlett
My artworks are an investigation of mixed media – a sense of the ‘ready-made’ intertwined with a painterly approach. The works sit between painting and a 3 dimensional process. I aim to explore the parameters around media use and its ability to move beyond conventional usage.
“What seems clear is that projects like these harness the power of art, including its tendency toward metaphor and verbal/visual play, its resistance to received ideas and its willingness to colonize new areas of knowledge, to persuade us to think differently about our relationship to the environment. They suggest that with a more proactive approach to environmental concerns, the posthuman era need not signal the end of human life as we know it. Instead, the Anthropocene might provide a new beginning for all the partners in the health of the planet.” (Hartney. E, 2014)
My work explores the narrative of the physical, digital, and social landscape, the effect of human presence and the changing epoch. As humans we are fooled into believing more is better, that the gatherer in us has turned into a hoarder of non-disposable matter. Do we acknowledge this, do we take ownership of it, can we see ourselves reflected in this change of epoch into the Anthropocene? There is an order and chaos within all the works – a juxtaposition of materials to create both at the same time. A reflection of the disorder and harmony the world at hand at present – environmentally, digitally, and socially.
My work has an overwhelming sense of both physical and social contagion. Borne from technology advances that are hugely beneficial to the world, yet at the same time plays on humans’ greed, consumption, and ability to ignore the detrimental elements of these physical and digital products.
Humans’ relationship with the world is not simply a duality of nature vs human. It inextricably links technologies to this construct and the overriding impact of the changes in and on the Earth. The advent of social media and the materiality of the digital has now played an enormous role on humans’ impact on the world.
I am currently the Head of Arts at Sacred Heart College Napier and have been teaching Visual Art in the secondary setting for 27 years. Last year I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend EIT and finish my Bachelor of Creative Practices. This work is the journey of 2020 and beyond.
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