I’ve got work in a show coming up soon ‘Regroup Reflect Regenerate’, the 25th Anniversary Show of the Medal Artists of New Zealand. It’s on from 21 July – 20 September 2015 at Pah Homestead. Opening: Tuesday 21 July, 6pm. I think you should all check it out, but can imagine that you may be thinking:
Medal Art – what the hell is that?
To me, it’s a great, quick, small sculptural form of idea expression. Kind of like a graphic illustration / cartoon piece you’d see the newspaper. Like graphic illustrations they often carry political and humurous commentary, the obvious difference being that medal art allows you to jump off the 2D surface. Working in three dimensions gives scope to use shape, weight and material choices to further enhance interpretations/deceptions.
Yes, Medal Art is an actual thing! The roots of Medal Art go back hundreds of years in Europe and there are literally thousands of Medal Artists based all around the world today. There is an international federation of medals artists – FIDEM. FIDEM organise biennial exhibitions and conferences, sponsored by top museums and universities, which thousands of people participate in and attend. There is a Medal Art magazine called The Medal.
There are rules in Medal Art. Technically a medal should be under 150mm dia, two sided (which allows for a multitude of yes / no, right / wrong, yin / yang kind of messages ), they should all have words. The parameters are surprisingly liberating, so many less decisions to make sculpturally, you can just focus on this single expression. You have to be concise (visually and conceptually) – it’s a really fun way to work. These days materials and techniques used vary from sculpting of chewing gum (not even a joke) through to the more traditional lost wax casting in bronze and silver.
As you may have now figured, there are Medal Artists in New Zealand. In 1990, a group of talented artists formed what is now known as Medal Artists New Zealand or MANZ. For 25 years they have been exhibiting around the country. I was lucky enough to be invited to join in 2009 and have enjoyed it thoroughly. Some of the artists I admire most in New Zealand are also members of the group and I’ve learnt such a lot.
So get along to the show so you can see what I’m talking about, and since I can’t be there, take some pics for me and send them through – details below.
Regroup Reflect Regenerate – the 25th Anniversary Exhibition Medal Artists of New Zealand
21 July – 20 September 2015 , Opening: Tuesday 21 July, 6pm
The Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, 72 Hillsborough Rd, Hillsborough, Auckland www.tsbbankwallaceartscentre.org.nz
The exhibition includes exciting work by 35 artists: Betty Beadle Paul Beadle John Andrew Frances Battersby Nigel Brown Bing Dawe Louise Dentice John Edgar Robert Ellis Fatu Feu’u Charlotte Fisher Marian Fountain Fiona Garlick David Guerin Paul Hartigan Bill Hayes Christine Hellyar Samantha Lissette Christine Massey Richard Mathieson Mary McIntyre Hamish McWhannell Richard McWhannell Neil Miller Juliette Milne Stanley Palmer Alan Preston Louise Purvis Michael Reed Terry Stringer Wallace Sutherland Marte Szirmay Greer Twiss Jim Wheeler Peter Woods