Community Garden

Hirschfeld Gallery, 7 May - 20 June 2010
Wayne Barrar, Rob Cherry, Jenny Gillam, Andy Palmer

A community is a group with common interests, which is often the outcome of sharing space. In this exhibition four artists share the gallery, along with an awareness of their position in a larger communal space - the natural environment. Multiple definitions of community are explored: a human social group, a collection of interacting insects, a species of fish which threatens the habitat of others, a set of like objects which trace human impact. Community Garden considers how each group is distinct, yet also shares resources, faces common risks, and claims their territory in similar ways.

Wayne Barrar’s six works come from a series addressing biohazards in New Zealand. Here the focus is Koi carp, an introduced species that causes severe problems in New Zealand waterways, particularly in shallow lakes where they create their own landscapes, affect water quality and compete with native species. His work documents the efforts being taken to remedy the impacts of these fish through reducing numbers of Koi carp.

Rob Cherry’s work A Beautiful Day for Walking Away traces a line around the perimeter of the gallery. The work is made from found plastic objects, which the artist has gathered from a local beach, Evans Bay. Detritus from the local rubbish dump blows and collects along this shore, and Cherry has completed a series of projects where he amasses objects of a particular colour for a set period of time. This work is the result of 16 half hour periods, total 8 hours of collecting - the equivalent of one working day.

In Search of Self-Perception, Jenny Gillam’s vivarium (a work created in collaboration with evolutionist Steve Trewick) houses a community of stick insects. The artist has collected and nurtured these creatures over a period of months, observing their social interactions and responses to environmental conditions. Her duty of care continues through this exhibition, and draws attention to the ways we perceive and understand nature in a world from which ‘wilderness’ is disappearing, becoming a concept rather than an experience.

Andy Palmer’s photographs are from a series focused on the Community Gardens at Tanera Park in Brooklyn. He visited the gardens monthly for a period of 15 months, photographing the same two views each time. These site portraits form a chart of the changes over time, showing Palmer’s interest in tracing the evolution of a cultivated site, the relation between urban and ‘natural’ environments, and the landscape as a site of production.

Abby Cunnane
Hirschfeld Gallery Curator



Tanera Park Community Garden (gate) #05, 29 November, 2006, 8.31am
Tanera Park Community Garden (gate) #11, 27 January, 2007, 3.41pm
Tanera Park Community Garden (gate) #31, 29 July 2007, 5.03pm
Tanera Park Community Garden (gate) #37, 28 September, 2007, 7.13am
Tanera Park Community Garden (gate) #47, 25 November, 2007, 1.18pm
Tanera Park Community Garden (gate) #49, 30 December, 2007, 8.02pm

The complete works from the Tanera Park Community Garden series can be seen here.

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©Andy Palmer 2006-2014