Workings and re-Workings is landmark exhibition that brings Andrew Drummond back to his birth place of Nelson. One of New Zealand’s pioneering performance artists and sculptors this exhibition presents reworked artworks from the last two decades that sit alongside new large scale pieces.
Drummond’s canny juxtapositions of machine and human, nature and culture, old world industrial aesthetics and kinetic technologies, act as the artist says, “as a meditation on my observations over a period of time, of the natural world and the forces at play both within and upon the earth.” As evidenced in his Rotating Forest in which skeletal willow branches rotate in an ever-evolving illuminated dance, the mysterious gears that control the hypnotic movements hidden beneath sphagnum moss and beeswax.
Many of the artworks move through mechanical or environmental forces, echoing Drummond’s practice as a performance artist. Activated by the movement and energy of the audience and environment, a work like Through the Passage of Balance draws you through the gallery. The pale branches force the audience to consider the physical space in which they and the artwork coexist. The physicality of the work is highlighted by the rib-like forms and the way in which they move in the space as if the gallery itself is breathing.
Drummond’s pseudo-scientific artworks hint at mysterious functions. With Case for Evacuation an unknowable invasive procedure is frozen in time. What is its purpose? Who is controlling it? Where have they gone? Another frequent component of Drummond’s work is coal. Highly polished in works like Coal Wheel and Scattered Samples he transforms this volatile material into something precious, not unlike the diamond with which it is so often apocryphally associated.
Whether they are presented as mechanical curiosities within glass cases, meticulously balanced coal, or illuminated woodlands, the artworks in this exhibition are ultimately concerned with our experience and understanding of the environment.