Where and when: Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve, Devonport; finishes tomorrow
TJ says: This biennial show to raise money for Women's Refuge brings together work by more than 100 artists working with protean variety and outstanding accomplishment.
Proteus was a Greek god who lived by the sea and could change into any shape. He should be the presiding deity for the splendid, NZ Sculpture OnShore spread across acres of space at the Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve. It contains the work of more than 100 artists on a spectacular cliff-top site all using a variety of materials and making wonderfully different shapes.
It ranges from the monumental - Continuum, by Steve Molloy, with steel girders set in a block that would make an enduring public work - to a privately ritual setting of delicate ceramic bowls by potter/sculptor Mia Hamilton.
The variety of materials reflects the variety of moods. There is wit when conventional bronze is used by Graeme D. Hitchcock and the ravening horde of wolves in modern black and red plastic by Sam Ireland.
The intense effort that has gone into mounting this exhibition is exemplified by an astonishing work, photographed by every visitor with a camera. Max and Bella and Friends, conceived and organised by Bernie Harfleet and Donna Turtle Sarten, consists of 10,000 white windmills. When the wind rustles across the mass of them, it is like a force energising a community.
The clifftop setting is perfect. An intricate globe, Nets by Rebecca Rose referring to marker buoys and nets, takes on special significance when seen against the sea and sky. The rhythmic Figures in Corten Steel, by Peter Brammer, crown the top of a green hill between two poplars to tremendous effect.
There's only this weekend left to see this grand exhibition which, apart from the good cause, is an inclusive dictionary to the variety, force and general excellence of sculpture in New Zealand.
•Individual sculptures are mostly for sale and the whole endeavour supports NZ Women's Refuge.
•In a story in last Saturday's paper, Anna Hanson was incorrectly named as Anna Harrison. We apologise for the error.
What: Summer installations by four artists
Where and when: Te Tuhi, 13 Reeves Rd, Pakuranga to March 19
TJ says: Three works by Fisher Scholarship winners and a large commissioned work range from abstruse philosophy and political documentation to honouring pigs (by eating and sleeping with them) and making sculpture that you can walk around holding in your hand combine in a fascinating show of contemporary art.
Here you'll find work by three young artists helped by the Iris Fisher Scholarship, awarded annually to a postgraduate student enrolled in a visual arts/fine arts course and set up in 2007 by the Fisher family and Te Tuhi.
Like the art of the finalists in the recent Walters Prize, the work now on display is radical and outside the scope of dealer galleries. As a whole, it reflects extremes of art now.
Slips and Grips, done in bronze by Hannah Valentine, is closest to older conventions. These are forms cast from shapes moulded by the grasp of hands or the pressure of fingers; at the opening, it was suggested that people picked one that pleased their tactile sense and carry it around the gallery.
The elaborate installation, Pigs in the Yard by Kalisolaite 'Uhila, whose work oscillates between Tongan and Western notions, is more radical. The 2014 Walters Prize nominee documents reversing the relationship of humans and pigs by putting people in a pen and allowing the pigs to run free. In another, he shared the food and space of the pigs.
He also cooked a pig on a spit at the opening of the show while photos of his sharing food bowls and sleeping space with a pig have a certain shock value. It's a statement about the importance and ceremonial status of pigs in Tonga.
Another scholar, Katrina Beekhuis, does work that examines the nature of perception. She copies roof netting not in pencil or pen but by delicately replicating it in very fine wire. Nearby is something like a clothes rack propped against the wall; on close inspection, there's a pair of tights so fine as to be almost invisible. Even their shadow on the wall is more substantial than the object itself.
A painting shows a dimly perceived image of a pot plant. It raises the question, 'where does the reality lie?' in the plant, the image, the painting as object or only in the mind? Instantly we classify the whole according to our needs and perception. Such philosophical concerns go right back to Duchamp and are one part of the modern art process.
The most substantial work, commissioned by Te Tuhi, is Dream Dialects by the international artist Jem Noble. Based on documentary objects, it's in 12 parts and uses logos, poster designs, inkjet prints, photocopies, wooden shapes, books, DVDs and, in one isolated inventive part, a disco light ball.
Of particular interest is a collection of books, discs, records and posters all connected with the film Sleeping Dogs along with paperback versions of the source novel, C. K. Stead's Smith's Dream in several languages. It is a powerful, detailed evocation of a time and the way authoritarian power can usurp liberal democracy.
What: Potentially Yours, The Coming Community
Where and when: Artspace, 1/300 Karangahape Rd to December 22
TJ says: Individual videos and installations that reveal places, politics, customs and personalities in radical and often compelling ways.
The politics of sex and state are also the basis of Potentially Yours, the Coming Community. Here the work of eight artists has been assembled by Tendal John Mutanbu.
It includes videos with some printed material and subjects range from satire by New York based Fatima al Qadiri and Khalid al Gharaballi to the isolation and stress of a single woman blown around by the winds of fortune emphasised by a sound track of the sharp tapping of her long fingernails by Mika Rottenberg. Sorawit Songsataya provides Cats' Cradle as an emblem of complex interaction alongside a hut of sticks. The whole show considers politics as at the heart of art now.