The Mist and the Horizon

'The Mist and the Horizon' brings together new work from two Ōtautahi-based practitioners, Nathan Pōhio and Luke Shaw, united by a common interest in expanded and deconstructed cinema.

This experimental and collaborative exhibition, curated by Jamie Hanton, can be read as a kind of lyric poem. A call and response about love. The ever present risk of loss that swoops across Ngāi Tahu creation stories, via elemental forces is echoed in epic duets of country music.

Exhibition Partners

CoCA’s spatially and acoustically complex North Gallery—a space divided into three distinct, but unified parts—is co-opted by Pōhio and Shaw to explore mythic narratives of harmony, separation, and distance through abstracted and fractured forms of sound and light.

Referencing a Ngāi Tahu creation narrative that recounts the union of the mist and the horizon as told by Matiaha Tiramōrehu, Pōhio has extended his practice of sampling and storytelling to develop three large-scale illuminated sculptures. These light works represent the celestial beings, Maku - the moisture, and Māhoranuiātea - the horizon, who came together to give life to their many offspring. Pōhio has also included Ranginui and Papatuanuku's sky-dwelling descendant Tama Te Ūria - the forked lightning.

Occupying the two voids in the North Gallery, Shaw’s new sound work draws on the legacy of iconic duos from the country music canon such as Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris; Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty. These musicians provide model partnerships that illustrate the power and potential of two energies combined. Using a broken electronic organ that constantly plays an F note when powered on, Shaw’s work is split across the two vertiginous spaces, harmonising and mapping the distance in between.          

Nathan Pōhio is of Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe, Kai Tahu descent. Nathan has an MFA in film and is an artist working in video and other photo media. He also works as Assistant Curator at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. In both roles he operates from a Ngāi Tahu position to bring tangata whenua / iwi perspectives to history to reflect on the experiences of contemporary Māori society. Nathan is the current Chairperson of The Physics Room and a founding member of Paemanu, a collective of Ngāi Tahu contemporary artists. Nathan represented Aotearoa New Zealand at documenta14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany 2017.

Luke Shaw is an artist and musician based in Ōtautahi. He holds an MFA from the Ilam School of Fine Arts working primarily in sound. Recent exhibitions include; Somewhere Between Nothing and Nowhere, Blue Oyster, Ōtepoti, 2021; Artspace New Artists Show, 2020, Artspace Aotearoa, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2020; Domino Domino, The Physics Room, Ōtautahi, 2020; and Sympathetic Resonance, The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi O Whakatū, Whakatū, 2019.

Jamie Hanton is a curator and writer based in Ōtautahi Christchurch, he is the current Managing Curator for SCAPE Public Art and was Director of The Physics Room (2016-2021). Prior to this was Kaitiaki Taonga Toi, Curator of Art Collections at the University of Canterbury and Director of The Blue Oyster Art Project Space (2011-2014).

The Mist and the Horizon is part of CoCA Centre of Contemporary Art Toi Moroki’s programme partnership with Auckland public gallery Objectspace which sees the organisations work together to develop and present exhibitions throughout 2021.