Grey

C(h)ity-scape

9 July – 20 July 2019

I had to hit middle age to finally truly appreciate the rich visual inventory of architecture, I’d stowed away in my brain when I was a child.

Sunny afternoons on Tilbury Ave.
A Palmerston North cul-de-sac of state houses.
My Dad’s family was number 9, my Mum’s number 18.
They accidentally made me when they were 18.

The street was a catalog of weatherboard cement and brick houses.
Grey tiles or shiny iron rooflines with that tall pitch and stocky chimney.
No fences.
Just hedges and searing-ly hot concrete paths.
Everyone had a standalone single window shed, and a clothesline you could swing off.

Then came the lower slung lemon yellow weatherboard, white wooden windows and wrought iron handrails of my childhood home across town in Lockhart Ave, Milson.
It was a new area in the late 70’s.
Small shrubs and fences starting to appear.
I used to be amazed at my friends split level house.

A short stint in a breeze block stack of units, then a comfy bungalow in Hamilton’s East side.
As I got older, I craved older buildings, as I flailed around for a sense of something.
The grand, tall and freezing villa in Hakanoa Street with those windows that are always hard to open and draw and the hefty stucco with the shiny floor and pink sills in Westmere.

I’ve been retreating to my storeroom of house memories with ever increasing frequency as I try and pay for my own home in West Auckland.

A 1969 weatherboard 75m2 rectangle that I found bruised and broken by her previous occupiers.
I’ve been hiding behind my crooked fence learning to renovate and restore for a few years.

My art is the equal and opposite reaction to my slow process of trying to return my house to its 1960’s sass.
I embrace the aesthetic I grew up with, and find the process of coaxing houses and buildings onto the canvas or board incredibly soothing.

I find myself staring at the roofline silhouettes at dusk and always looking at the odd details or quirks of every house I see.

I’m adding all this new imagery to my visual archive storage warehouse in my head.
Then enjoying the organic way the old memories seem to scrape and smudge up against the new ones, removing all the modern styling, or trendy phases, and rendering every House and Building I create into something I love.

@thegreyplace