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May 7, 2007 | by  | in Visual Arts |
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Comix Remix

ROAR! Gallery
April 19 -May 5

An emo who doesn’t shove his tortured pain and self inflicted isolation upon the world and everyone around him, is it possible? If you check out the cartoons of Hayden Currie, a Massey University Design graduate, then you will experience desolation without the feeling of being hit on the head with it.

ROAR! gallery recently further cemented their solid reputation for displaying outsider art with their exhibition Comix Remix.

A long time coming it resumed after a key organiser dropped out earlier this year due to work commitments. With so many comic artists being represented it’s a good thing that it coincided with cult pop culture show Armageddon and New Zealand Comics Weekend. Whereas the other shows showcased established cartoonists, ROAR! was putting comics into a different context from artists who usually make fine art. The goal was to find out what is lurking in the underbelly of popular art.

My favourite works were by the previously mentioned Hayden Currie who developed his art with a silent black and white graphic novel Between the Lines. They were intended to show the causes and symptoms of depression in an adolescent male, through a story told without dialogue and from a personal perspective. Full of desolation the character simply titled Diary Boy wanders through his life with little connection with others, for instance it is apparent that while eating dinner with his family there is no warmth between them. Currie manages to avoid emo cliches, like Steve Emond’s excellent cult graphic novel Emo Boy, by just using the extremes of tone to illustrate the ranges of emotion experienced by adolescents and allowing the context to be implicit. For the exhibition he recreated pages from the novel by painting eerily on the ends of small cots, like the dreams (or nightmares) which haunt those childhood sojourns.

Another stand out work was a painted version of ROAR! Gallery regular Andrea Murray’s character Belladonna as she traverses through her nocturnal world. Previously shown as three dimensional dolls encased in ancient speaker boxes, these works have created more interest, fascination and horrid curiosity than other times at ROAR! Gallery. Full of archetypes Along came a Spider climaxed with the attack from the spider with shock horror imagery.

Urban art was also represented with a super hero tagger mixing Japanese animation forms and telling contemporary Kiwi street stories. Post-modern anime was also evident with Mayur Gandhi’s Little Dudes series, where reality is simulated upon itself.

Gandhi’s website (www.little-dudes.co.nz) features a weekly web comic that relates to current events in popular culture acting as a graphical blog. Humourously one of the latest entries on the site is a form of self parody as the character is in ROAR! gallery and is pointing at Gandhi’s works imploring the viewer to purchase them.

The small back room gallery at ROAR! featured the latest works from Gary Humphreys, with large paintings with apocalyptic and global themes. One was reminded of controversial former football commentator David Icke’s recent books about global conspiracy run by reptilian entities. Mad or not, the idea puts forth the idea of negative dimensional entities of a reptilian nature that controls the world through the global elite and leaders. One of Humphrey’s works appeared to touch upon such contemporary archetypes of global manipulation and society. I would like to have discussed with him some of the other provocative and universal themes in his set of works but unfortunately he happened to be ill at the time of the exhibition.

Humphrey along with Currie, Gandhi and all of the others managed to successfully implement ROAR! Gallery’s goal of showing what is lurking in the underbelly of ‘popular art’ with stunning results. The only downside of the exhibition is that it was short in duration. If you are interested in viewing and finding out more of the art from Comix Remix then contact the gallery and they will be able to assist you.

ROAR! Gallery: roargallery@paradise.net.nz
55 Abel Smith Street ph: 04 385 7602

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  1. Marion says:

    I am looking for a copie (or excepts) of Hayden Currie’s comic on youth depression, I am also doing a project for university in Canada (I’m developing a workshop to go into highschools in Vancouver, British Columbia). I am really interested to see his work. Is there a way to get in contact with him? An email?
    Or, do you know where I could get a copy of the comic?
    Thank you.

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