WORDS Francis McWhannell
Photography Kate van der Drift
Parnell-based Furniture Gallery was established by Ben Martley towards the end of 2017 as Satchi & Satchi & Satchi (the space is situated just along from the Auckland branch of the international advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi). It frequently highlights practitioners of exceptional talent while they are still in the earliest stage of their careers — that is, at art school. Furniture ‘alumni’ include the highly regarded Rea Burton and Claudia Kogachi, as well as several artists showing with other galleries at May Fair Online. The Furniture booth features work by Georgia Arnold, Olyvia Hong, Chris Peckham, and Nicholas Pound. The pieces are in a variety of media and displayed in a variety of manners. For instance, cast aluminium charms by Arnold are scattered, semi-camouflaged, among pebbles on the floor. Peckham’s contribution, a work in coloured pencil on paper, is embedded in a large block of ice on a glass shelf.
As is often the case with artists who show at Furniture, there is an emphasis on materiality. These are all works that cry out to be experienced in real life. A knobbly cast bronze apple by Hong practically demands a caress. Pound — whose work is luscious at the best of times — presents a trio of paintings that are all fingery, unctuous swirls of acrylic and oil. One is encrusted with a Batman magnet and a clutch of Monopoly buildings (these not only call to my mind London’s Mayfair but also nod towards Pound’s position as a dad very much involved in caregiving). All the paintings are marked by the sort of colour that is bound to change dramatically in response to different light conditions. There’s a real genius to Furniture’s selection. Pieces that are more graphic and less sensual would not, I venture, have the same pull. Here, one has the impression of a richness yet to be fully consummated. One has to buy the works to experience them in their entirety — or at least plan a visit to the gallery. The online showroom as artistic dating app.