Kohia Nga Taikaka
Gather the Heartwood
Rod Davies & Cam Wilson
Opening 11am 31st January 2015
Open 31st January to 5th March 2015
New ceramic work by Rod Davies and art furniture by Cam Wilson
‘Kohia nga taikaka’ – the theme of this combined exhibition by Cam Wilson and Rod Davies – roughly translates as ‘gather the heartwood’.
The phrase is a whakataukī, or saying, of tangata whenua in itself, but was also the school motto of Rod’s old college. It readily sprang to mind, therefore, as a particularly apt title to describe the spirit and intent of the exhibition.
In Cam’s case, it is literally true as his work on show exclusively features kauri and puriri heartwood. But in a broader figurative sense, it also conveys the essence of the artistic drive behind these most recent creations, distilling expertise and integrity derived from long respective careers that have established them as major artists – careers for the main forged in the Far North, where kauri was king and its heartwood the crown jewel.
Since establishing his own pottery in the Fern Flat forty years ago, Rod Davies’ work has featured in galleries and exhibitions throughout New Zealand, as well as selling online both nationally and internationally. For many years now, Rod and Marguerite’s studio and showroom have been a well established ‘must visit’ for any serious ceramics and ceramic sculpture fan doing the Far North circuit.
Rod’s work here was inspired by a recent visit to the Hokianga’s Kohukohu village, whose whole history derives from the vast kauri trade in the latter part of the 1800’s. Rod wanted to honour through his own work the munificence of the gift of the kauri, and to celebrate the fact that with changing attitudes, new generations will witness – at least to some degree – a repopulating of the kauri in the wider Far North.
In recent years Rod has worked mainly with terracotta clay with a particular emphasis on texture, employing oxides and an intentionally limited palette of slips to drive new directions. A Kohia Nga Takaka, a ‘gathering of the heartwood’ – even though expressed via the meeting of fire and clay – therefore captures the intent and mood of Rod’s singular pieces on exhibition: a stripping of the externals to reveal core strength and aesthetic integrity.
Cam Wilson’s distinctive and highly idiosyncratic blend of creativity and functionality speaks to an international market. In a career spanning four decades he has had major exhibitions throughout New Zealand as well as continuing to work and exhibit from his Fern Flat based studio/gallery.
While much of his furniture work features his ability to marry the grain and patina of different native woods in challenging new combinations, and incorporating different elements of mixed media, here he allows functionality to carry form – but seen of course through his own particularised perspective. To accentuate this new exploration of the fundamentals, for these works Cam has chosen to work with kauri and puriri heartwood only. The exhibition pieces, then, do indeed literally constitute a ‘gathering of the heartwood’.
All materials derive from different areas of the Far North.