Relatively Fruity by Oliver Cain
26 September – 5 October 2020
Föenander Galleries, 455 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland
Highly influenced by pop art, English-New Zealand artist, Oliver Cain has a style which has been described as fun, playful and seemingly light-hearted but, upon closer inspection, has far more serious undertones. Relatively Fruity explores themes of gender and queer identity through linguistic paintings, comically morphed appropriated objects and body parts, in a variety of materials.
The exhibition features a variety of new ceramic works featuring everyday objects such as a series of highly glossed white milk cartons and bowls, engorged by bananas
Cain’s work pushes the boundaries between conceptualism and post-pop art. Each of the works delicately teeters on the public and private or seriousness and levity. Cain has a remarkable ability to gently nudge the viewer into an uncomfortable space but not over the edge — instead, encouraging them to experience something different and deeper.
This is exemplified in the small-scale, candy-coloured framed ceramic sculptures which invite closer inspection to discover they are indeed cast nipples. In this instance, the private is secure and framed. This meaning isn’t shared with Chewed Encounters, a series of stretched Dalí-esque nipples made from bubble gum, which reference the disposability or how expendable some personal encounters are, despite how private the moment shared might have been.
Many Chewed Encounters by Oliver Cain, 2020.