A Tale of Blood, Sweat and Tears

6 January 2012

Sweat, grime and body fluids are not typical art materials, but they form the basis of Rachel Johnstone's exhibition Current Obsession - at Toi Poneke Gallery from next Friday (13 January).

Juggling making art with motherhood, full-time work and everyday life led Rachel to create artworks from her daily routines. Over the past year, she has carefully collected and recorded traces of her ordinary activities and transformed these into unique artworks.

Rachel says that it made her consider simple tasks - like using a computer or driving to work - from new angles.

"Routines come and go, but their traces remain as collections. When I scrutinised the mundane banality of everyday living, the results became far from ordinary."

Sweat marks from the Rachel's 'mouse hand' are pressed on paper, becoming both delicate drawings and evidence of her day job. Menstrual cycles plotted against a moon calendar create abstract, rhythmic patterns. Even her daily drive to work is videoed over months and transformed into a seemingly endless commute. These artworks and others capture both the passing of time and the physical residue of Rachel's activities.

A Whitireia and Learning Connexion graduate, Rachel sees the collation of these materials and activities as a type of self-portrait. 

"These works challenge the assumptions of self portraiture by asking the viewer to consider my habits, personality and methodology," she says.

Rachel will discuss her exhibition with artist Natalie Ellen-Eliza on the last day of the exhibition - Friday 3 February at 12.30pm at Toi Pōneke Gallery.  

Current Obsession opens at 5.30pm on Thursday 12 January at Toi Pōneke Gallery. The gallery is open weekdays from 9.00am - 8.00pm and weekends from 10.00am - 4.00pm.