Reuben Paterson

Reuben Paterson's digital animation has a fundamental, primal attraction. It consists of a large silver, glittery screen on which a kaleidoscopic projection is playing. Like magpies, humans like glittery, shiny things (a fact Paterson has manipulated before, for example in his When the Sun Rises and the Shadows Flee, in the Beloved exhibition), as well as patterns, symmetry and the idea of perfection.

As such, the work has a base appeal, evidenced in the joy which babies and young children derive from the viewing experience; there is an absolute kind of pleasure and involvement in the piece that anyone could sympathise with. The kaleidoscopic patterns affect us on a physical level as we are drawn into their infinity, creating a wondrous sense of space.
Admittedly, the work can get a bit tired after a few viewings. One has a sense of having experienced it already and not being as involved in and enthused about it as before. However, to view it for the first time is a physical, almost spiritual, experience as the work pulls one in and the patterns and effects it produces are simply very beautiful.

I'm not entirely sure where Paterson was going by including Maori iconography in the piece (e.g. the Maori kowhaiwhai designs, references to Gordon Walters work and the allusion to the collection of pounamu by Kai Tahu in Lake Wakatipu). But then perhaps we are simply so used to politics in relation to Maori that we forget to simply enjoy the beauty of what Maori culture, art, design and story have to offer. This work is an engaging optical experience that almost anyone can relate to.

Posted 11:32pm Monday 25th July 2011 by Kari Schmidt.