Artists Unite in Gloominess and Woe

20 August 2010

The next Toi Poneke Gallery exhibition is the result of a culmination of events that started with a 'flatmates wanted' ad. Lennart Maschmeyer and Dominic McElwee shared a house and found they had a common interest - art and everything about it.

In Glutton's Diary (from Wednesday 1 September), they'll exhibit a range of mostly black and white works - oil paintings, watercolours and drawings by Dominic and photography by Lennart. While their worldviews oppose - one being an idealistic optimist and the other a cynical pessimist - their artistic expression shares a common focus - the troubles of the post-industrial soul.

While Dominic's work portrays internal decay through crumbling structures and grotesque forms, Lennart's work focuses on the external through his photography. Documenting the trials of contemporary existence, Glutton's Diary tells a story of decadence, overindulgence and waste.

Originally from Hamburg, Lennart moved to Wellington a few years ago to study international relations at Victoria University. Through this degree, he spent a year in Singapore. A self-taught photographer, his work documents about three years of observation in Asia, the United States, Europe and New Zealand. Lennart says the images focus on moments of life in urban environments.

"They are mostly of people, but also include a neurotic dog and a dead cockroach," he says. "It's sort of a snapshot of civilization, as far as I have witnessed it. There is this atmosphere of unease, of feeling lost. Nobody seems to know where they are heading or what part to play."

Lennart continues to take photos around Wellington - portraits of the city's artists. All portraits will feature in a book on Wellington artists, due to be published in the spring.

Dominic, meanwhile, travelled extensively about 10 years ago when he lived in Italy. The Baroque architecture and all the artworks he saw in his time there have heavily influenced his work.

"I'm also very influenced by Renaissance and 19th century decorative art, with a touch of grotesque - the really bad stuff. I try to condense a little bit of that badness into my own work."

Also self-taught, Dominic has been drawing and painting since he was a child, as well as studying art history in his own time. His work's emphasis is on detail - some quite illustrative, some abstract.

"But overall, teetering on the edge of very bad taste," he says.

Glutton's Diary opens at 5.30pm on Wednesday 1 September at Toi Pōneke Gallery, 61 Abel Smith Street - just up the road from Real Groovy.

The gallery is open from 9.00am - 7.30pm on weekdays and from 10.00am - 4.00pm on weekends.