Caves are made of rock but not this cave


Sian Torrington in collaboration with Joan Fleming and Rachel O’Neill

CAVES ARE MADE OF ROCK BUT NOT THIS CAVE is a collaborative exhibition that brings together new work by Sian Torrington, Joan Fleming and Rachel O’Neill. The show explores the metaphor and site of the cave as a locus point for acts of revelation and concealment. Wellington-based artist Sian Torrington was initially inspired to make work that would respond to the cave-like Blue Oyster basement space. Torrington soon saw that the space and the investigation of intimacy through the cave concept could not be ventured alone, and she invited Dunedin-based poet Joan Fleming and Wellington-based artist Rachel O’Neill to work with her to create a joint installation and opening-night reading event.

I wanted to invite you in.  Is this about intimacy?  I don’t really know what anything is yet.  This is how building begins.

Sian Torrington presents intensely worked drawings of caves, as well as sculptural objects. These are explorations of internal space, as well as representations of experiential rather than idealized intimacy. They also respond to “descriptions” of the space by writer Joan Fleming. Artist and writer Rachel O’Neill jumps into the conversation with her video work, Stalactitus, along with a series of digital drawings. Together the conversation their works illicit opens, darkens, and expands what might be considered as their common ground:

The central metaphor is caves, physical and emotional. The act of excavating through the creative process to reach oneself.  Women are full of dark places.  The cave as a female space, a sexuality which is internal, felt rather than seen. The cave as a place which has to be journeyed to – squeezing through spaces, feeling one’s way.  What can I keep hidden?  Imagine the gallery space as a cave. What materials keep it from leaking, collapsing, disintegrating? How can we keep our spaces?  I’m blind.  I’ve started excavating.  I’d like to find out what that means.

In this exhibition, the walls of the cave glitter. Process becomes project. The three women must make choices: what to explore together, what to display, and what to cover over and open out.

Artist bios:

Sian Torrington is a Wellington-based artist who also writes. She works with drawing, sculpture and installation using an expressive method of experiment and practice. Her most recent show was The Obstinate Object at City Gallery Wellington. She graduated with an MFA from Massey University in 2010, and works from her studio in Lyall Bay, making glorious, complicated work full of unresolved energy and fight which stands up for itself just the way it is.

Joan Fleming’s debut collection, The Same as Yes, was published by VUP in 2011. It is a book of clear and mysterious poems where everyday objects like armchairs and dressing gowns engage in conversation. Joan is currently working towards a Masters in Iterative Poetics at Otago.

Rachel O’Neill is a Wellington-based artist and writer. She is the creator of with sympathy, a YouTube-based web series and is a member of the collaborative group All the Cunning Stunts, with fellow artists Liz Allan, Clare Noonan, and Marnie Slater. She graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2005

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