Dunedin artists Jessie Lee Robertson and Josh Hunter gave one simple explanation for their show, Black Memories, 'The Devil is in the detail' This statement is equally applicable to both artists and their work, but differs in application.
Robertson offers perhaps more intricate work, with her collection of drawings and black and gold tarot cards. The wall of tarot cards in particular grabbed my attention; intricate gold images on black, the cards are striking as a group of fifteen or on their own. Some of the cards are delicate and self-contained, for example 'La Rosa', a black rose with perfect, filigree skeleton leaves nestled into solid fallen petals and stems, or 'La Esculara', a ladder with a snake tightly wound around it. Others spill from the borders of their cards, 'La Luna' featuring a writhing snake encircling the moon. The spillage connects these cards to their partners and seems to give the sets a sense of movement, perhaps echoing the dealing of the cards. Each row is a set and lined up in a different order, so that you don’t notice immediately that there are repeats of certain cards. Each row of tarot cards could easily represent a different reading making the display almost endlessly engaging.
Hunter’s work, on first inspection, is plainer, large prints with bold colour palettes. His prints 'After School Care' and 'You Died' are presented in groups of four on imposing squares of card. Arranged in this way they look as though they should be collected as a set. The longer you look at Hunter’s work the more apparent the attention to detail becomes. The image of the car in 'You Died' is lovingly if sparingly textured, and the sparse colour blocking and line work in 'Chupacabra Cult' makes the fur on the flying creature look palpably tactile. Hunter’s work is eye grabbing as well as painstakingly put together.
Robertson and Hunter’s work is aesthetically similar and yet neither artist’s work is derivative of the other. They have put together a cohesive and visually engaging show that allows both of their collections to flourish in their own space as well as compliment each other. The show is on display at Kiki Beware for the next month.