Kelcy Taratoa (Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Raukawa) explores how form, colour and pattern speak to and across cultures. Taratoa’s paintings create broad-ranging conversations which range from Te Ao Maori to Te Ao Whānui, the wider world: from customary Maori pattern, to mid-century geometric abstraction, to 21st century digital codes and the ideas that symbols and patterns embody.
The conceptual ambiguity is matched by the material ambiguity of the paintings, which have an immaculate finish belying the presence of the brush and hand of the artist. It is also a point of continuity with his older work which was characterised by super-flat, vividly-coloured surfaces. The graphic flatness of the work in reproduction gives way in actuality to a sense of substance, depth and marvel that something so flat is hand-painted.
Taratoa, who has a Master in Maori Visual Art (1st class honours) from Massey University, has exhibited nationally and internationally and has had several public gallery exhibitions throughout New Zealand including a major mid career survey, Who am i? Episode 001 at Tauranga Art Gallery from late 2019 to early 2020. Christchurch Art Gallery will reveal two major new site-specific works that it has commissioned when it reopens. Taratoa has work in a wide range of collections nationally and internationally and his Tauranga survey borrowed extensively from these collections.