Ways of Knowing

CoCA is excited to announce two new exhibitions opening late May and mid-June, outcomes of our newly established Emerging Curators Programme designed to support early-career curators to develop group exhibitions.

Part I: Painting show
Opening on Friday 31 May, 5.30pm
Exhibition dates: 1 June to 16 June

    
Part II: Object show
Opening on Thursday 20 June, 5.30pm
Exhibition dates: 21 June to 5 July

    

Emerging curators, Meg Doughty and Monica Wang have developed two group exhibitions on behalf of CoCA. The pair invited artists from the pool of extremely high-quality proposals received during CoCA's first Open Call for Proposals (2023) to exhibit in this group show. Keep an eye on our social media channels for an exciting public programme throughout both exhibitions.


Part I: Painting show

This exhibition explores who canonises knowledge and whose knowledge is canonised. Featuring artists who engage with othered ways of knowing, the paintings in this show challenge the old masters, and are shaped by intuition, the subconscious, the whenua, and the liminal.

In dreaming, in the earth, together, and by gut, these ways of knowing have been hidden by unhelpful Enlightenment-era dichotomies of public and private, the rational and emotional, the masculine and the feminine. 


Part II: Object show

The sustained efforts of Indigenous peoples, the pressures of the climate crisis, and the ecocritical turn in art history have ushered in a flurry of earth-centred exhibitions. As artists worldwide express the collective anxiety of the threats to the symbiotic webs of interbeing humanity occurs within, conversation, creative expression, and activism merge. In the presence of totalising categories, like the Anthropocene, this exhibition considers local ecologies through their material and relational facets.


Meg Doughty is an emerging curator and art writer based in Õtautahi. Her art history master’s focuses on feminist, postcolonial, and ecocritical research.


Monica Wang is an emerging curator with a background as an artist and architect based in Ōtautahi. Her curatorial practice focuses on the way contemporary art reflects on surrounding environments.

Part I: Painting featuring

Ferne McIntosh
Ava Trevella
Estefania Mondaca Fibla
Sam Walker
Samantha Allen
Karen Greenslade
Anita DeSoto

Part II: Object featuring

Mi Kyung Jang
Colleen Altagracia
Rachel Ratten
Rachel Sleigh
Amy Unkovich

The Artists

  • Amy Unkovich
    Amy Unkovich
    Tāmaki Makaurau

    In considering what is built, maintained, allowed to decay, or destroyed, Amy Unkovich utilises a visual architectural shorthand to draw attention to how spaces are constructed, why, and who for. The materiality of her sculptural works are essential for communicating this architectural vernacular, which is often site-specific. Amy Unkovich questions the use and functions of specific materials to play with the de- and re- construction of form. Described as ‘architectonic’, her sculptures speak directly to the particularities of galleries as buildings with conventions, histories, functions and communities. 


    Amy Unkovich has an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts (2013), a postgraduate diploma from Elam (2012) and a BFA from Elam (2005). She is based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and has been exhibiting regularly since 2012. 

    Web site
  • Anita DeSoto
    Anita DeSoto
    Ōtepoti

    Anita DeSoto, is a Waitaha artist with 25 years of experience exhibiting her paintings nationally and internationally. She holds a Master of Fine Arts and has been teaching Drawing and Painting at the Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic since 2004. Anita has also been awarded several arts residencies, including one at the Leipzig International Art Program in Germany (2010), Aratoi Fellow in 2012, and an artist-in-residence at the New Pacific Studios in Vallejo, San Francisco in 2014. and the William Hodges Fellowship 2018. Her paintings are in the collections of Southland Art Foundation, Sir James Wallace, Pah House, Auckland and Anderson Park Public Gallery Collection, Invercargill. Her practice is grounded in a feminist art history.

    Web site Facebook Instagram
  • Ava Trevella
    Ava Trevella
    Ōtepoti

    Ava Trevella is an artist currently based in Ōtepoti Dunedin. She grew up in Christchurch and believes that her practice has its roots in te Waipounamu, the South Island. Ava recently completed a BFA at Elam, although now she identifies primarily as a painter, she previously had a wider practice across performance, film, writing and sculpture, which still influences how she works.
      

    Ava's work is led by intuition and material experimentation, undertaken to disentangle elements of phenomenology - the conscious and subconscious memories and emotions which come to create this world. The opacity, thickness, and movement of paint are used to explore themes of self and matter in different intensities and on different levels. Her work often looks to the lives of other animals, the poetics of the human everyday, the various situations and spaces we navigate through our waking and sleeping states, in its vigorous waves of motion, its queasiness and beauty.

    Instagram
  • Colleen Altagracia
    Colleen Altagracia
    Tāmaki Makaurau

    Colleen Altagracia has an interest in systems theory, as well as spatial and ephemeral matter particularly associated with air. She explores material and immaterial items in relation to associated atmospheric conditions of air, breath, and entropy. Air is an invisible matter composed primarily of oxygen and nitrogen gases. While air is invisible with no specific form it is used by lungs enclosed within a body in the action of breathing and breath it is an essential for life. Breathing and the use of lungs is also an action that connects living entities, where lungs are neither closed nor open systems. There is a oneness to the exposed and enclosed form of air that implies connectivity with everything.


    Colleen Altagracia has a Master in Fine Arts (MFA), Elam School of Fine Arts & Design, University of Auckland; Post graduate Diploma: sculpture, Manukau School of Visual Arts; Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA), Manukau School of Visual Arts. Her work is held in both Aotearoa New Zealand and Australian collections. 

     

  • Estefania Mondaca Fibla
    Estefania Mondaca Fibla
    Ōtautahi

    Estefania Mondaca is an Ōtautahi based painter who was born in the port of Coquimbo, Chile in July 1988. In 2006 she entered to study a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of Chile, moving to live in Santiago. She exhibited for the first time with “Perennial Symphony” at the Domo of Coquimbo in the summer of 2009. In 2012 she returned to live in Coquimbo, exhibiting her thesis “The towers of the Desert” at The House of the Arts in the same city. Before coming to New Zealand in 2015 she participated in the "Medrano Workshop" together with the sculptor Gabriel Bujes, with whom she held various exhibitions throughout the region.
      

    In May 2021 she began to exhibit in New Zealand, showing her first series "Memory Distortion" made entirely in this country. Since then, she has been sharing her work in different galleries in Christchurch.

    Web site Instagram Facebook
  • Ferne McIntosh
    Ferne McIntosh
    Geraldine

     Coming from both Scottish and New Zealand Māori ancestry, Ferne McIntosh's intentions surface from a deep knowing of Indigenous earthy roots. Having formed her own visual language as a continuing theme throughout her artworks, each piece follows a thread of spiritual awareness through a connection to nature. Raw sewn canvas sized with rabbit skin glue, oil or mixed media; Ferne is a painter of large figurative contemporary landscapes.
      

    Encounters of the inner and outer terrains on a universal scale. Boundaries between physical and emotional places are communicated through highly charged use of materials. Abstract ambiguous human figures within Ferne's work are representational of the Anthropocene.
      

    Ferne acquired her BFA Hons in 2011 and a further design and illustrative educational background.

    Instagram Facebook
  • Karen Greenslade
    Karen Greenslade
    Ōtautahi

    Karen Greenslade graduated with a BFA from the University of Canterbury in 2016. She had previously graduated with a Teaching Diploma, a BA in Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education. She travelled widely before living and working on the West Coast with her partner and three children for over 30 years. During her Coast years Greenslade developed a keen sense of the need for sustainable management of the surrounding natural environment.
      

    After finishing art school in 2016 Karen has worked on two main series of paintings: Where the Creek Runs, largely influenced by her West Coast Years and more recently her series Layer Upon Layer, which reflects her time on New Zealand’s eastern coast, especially the Canterbury region where she grew up.
      

    Both series employ similar media, techniques and themes. They are expressive paintings on paper using handmade inks, charcoal, pencil, water-based paint and printing inks. These are mixed media works often mounted on pure silk or linen. They represent themes of fragile, localized natural environments and are often blended with imagery speaking of women’s interests in the textile arts and floral design within a family domestic context. They are both feminine and feminist works; statements of the value, and also the elevation, of women’s status in the world of Fine Arts.

    Web site
  • Mi Kyung Jang
    Mi Kyung Jang
    Lincoln

    MiKyung Jang is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily across sculpture, painting and clay. After migrating to New Zealand from South Korea, she started taking art classes and by 2012 she was learning classical painting and drawing at the Russian Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. This motivated her to study at the University of Canterbury and embark on her career as a full-time artist. 

      
    Mi Kyung’s art focuses on our relationship with the natural world. She considers herself lucky to have been born and raised in the countryside in Korea. She grew up befriending animals, insects, and plants. These childhood experiences played an important part in giving her insight into understanding the natural world and teaching her that humans and nature cannot be disassociated. 

      
    She clears her mind while creating art works. When she calms her mind, she feels all the creatures on earth are connected as one. The body feels like one figure made up of millions of cells. She believes that if humans can treat nature with love, it will return as love. The connectedness of all creatures on earth and the love for nature are expressed in the earthy tones and organic shapes of her forms. She invites the viewer to slow down and enjoy her work which embodies her contemplation of humanity in all its complexities.

    Instagram
  • Rachel Ratten
    Rachel Ratten
    Timaru

    Rachel Ratten is a painter, printmaker and textile artist. Her contemporary quilt works are painterly in their treatment of composition and colour. Often beginning with ink washes to inspire shapes for fabric pieces to assemble or deconstruct, Rachel’s process is a deeply intentional one. In the quilting of the fabric she marries structured, repetitive linework with the waves of colour, giving them a frame to hold to. She has quilted for over twenty years. 

      
    She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a P.G. Dip in Visual and Material Studies and BFA (Hons). For her MFA at Canterbury she moved her focus to the more ‘formal’ elements of design and composition, with narrative deliberately excluded. For this sharp turn away from her previously more traditional path, she started using solid fabrics rather than paint and ink. Design aesthetics and knowledge gained through her art journey mean she can bridge her traditional stitching skills with a contemporary usage of colour and composition elements. She has taught painting and printmaking at Aoraki Polytechnic, and her work is held in collections both throughout New Zealand and internationally.

    Instagram
  • Rachel Sleigh
    Rachel Sleigh
    Ōtautahi

    Rachel Sleigh’s work uses landscape as a medium to understand society. Rachel’s work explores aspects of our relationship with whenua that are unique to Aotearoa. Her practice often reflects on a landscape interrupted and through the materiality of her work different ways of understanding this relationship and the values at play are suggested. Through a process of creating and casting objects, forms are presented as markers for contemplating new ways of moving forward. Situated in a decolonial context Sleigh carefully records evidence of her encounters with the whenua without removal or estrangement. In her use of wax as a casting material she alludes to the preservation of the moments of these interactions and invites audiences to engage with the environments in which they participate. 

      
    Rachel Sleigh lives in Ōtautahi. At the end of 2021 she completed a BFA (Hons) majoring in Sculpture at Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury.

     

  • Sam Walker
    Sam Walker
    Te Whanganui-a-Tara

    Sam Walker is a New Zealand based artist raised in the greenbelt of Ōtautahi Christchurch. She studied painting at the Ilam School of Fine Arts. Upon the completion of her Masters Degree in late 2020 Walker moved to the greater Pōneke Wellington area, where she now resides.
      

    Her artistic sentiments are a mix of semi-rural experience and formative years skirting around a broken city centre. The familiar landscape and notions of ‘brokenness’ are translated into the subjects of Walker’s work. The techniques of her paintings hover at perceptual lines, resulting in eerie and liminal impressions.

    Web site Instagram Facebook
  • Samantha Allen
    Samantha Allen
    Whakatū

    Samantha Allen is a self-taught acrylic painter based in Nelson. She takes note from the surrealist, cubist and abstract art movements.
      

    Samantha's work is inspired by notions of self, stability in the sense of home and belonging, and critical self-reflection. Increasingly, she is also drawing inspiration from the tangled and often awry thoughts and thought processes we have in the more difficult moments of the human experience.
      

    Samantha has always painted, but she particularly started developing her style in her university years studying Gender Studies and Sociology, and then onto law. After she finished her law degree in 2016, she continued to paint as she lived in Wellington, Tauranga and Nelson, balancing painting with forging her litigation career in family and then criminal law.
      

    Since moving to Nelson in mid-2019, painting has had a more formal place in Samantha's day to day life. She has been exhibiting since 2021.

    Web site
Amy Unkovich
Tāmaki Makaurau

In considering what is built, maintained, allowed to decay, or destroyed, Amy Unkovich utilises a visual architectural shorthand to draw attention to how spaces are constructed, why, and who for. The materiality of her sculptural works are essential for communicating this architectural vernacular, which is often site-specific. Amy Unkovich questions the use and functions of specific materials to play with the de- and re- construction of form. Described as ‘architectonic’, her sculptures speak directly to the particularities of galleries as buildings with conventions, histories, functions and communities. 


Amy Unkovich has an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts (2013), a postgraduate diploma from Elam (2012) and a BFA from Elam (2005). She is based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and has been exhibiting regularly since 2012. 

View artwork
Anita DeSoto
Ōtepoti

Anita DeSoto, is a Waitaha artist with 25 years of experience exhibiting her paintings nationally and internationally. She holds a Master of Fine Arts and has been teaching Drawing and Painting at the Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic since 2004. Anita has also been awarded several arts residencies, including one at the Leipzig International Art Program in Germany (2010), Aratoi Fellow in 2012, and an artist-in-residence at the New Pacific Studios in Vallejo, San Francisco in 2014. and the William Hodges Fellowship 2018. Her paintings are in the collections of Southland Art Foundation, Sir James Wallace, Pah House, Auckland and Anderson Park Public Gallery Collection, Invercargill. Her practice is grounded in a feminist art history.

View artwork
Ava Trevella
Ōtepoti

Ava Trevella is an artist currently based in Ōtepoti Dunedin. She grew up in Christchurch and believes that her practice has its roots in te Waipounamu, the South Island. Ava recently completed a BFA at Elam, although now she identifies primarily as a painter, she previously had a wider practice across performance, film, writing and sculpture, which still influences how she works.
  

Ava's work is led by intuition and material experimentation, undertaken to disentangle elements of phenomenology - the conscious and subconscious memories and emotions which come to create this world. The opacity, thickness, and movement of paint are used to explore themes of self and matter in different intensities and on different levels. Her work often looks to the lives of other animals, the poetics of the human everyday, the various situations and spaces we navigate through our waking and sleeping states, in its vigorous waves of motion, its queasiness and beauty.

View artwork
Colleen Altagracia
Tāmaki Makaurau

Colleen Altagracia has an interest in systems theory, as well as spatial and ephemeral matter particularly associated with air. She explores material and immaterial items in relation to associated atmospheric conditions of air, breath, and entropy. Air is an invisible matter composed primarily of oxygen and nitrogen gases. While air is invisible with no specific form it is used by lungs enclosed within a body in the action of breathing and breath it is an essential for life. Breathing and the use of lungs is also an action that connects living entities, where lungs are neither closed nor open systems. There is a oneness to the exposed and enclosed form of air that implies connectivity with everything.


Colleen Altagracia has a Master in Fine Arts (MFA), Elam School of Fine Arts & Design, University of Auckland; Post graduate Diploma: sculpture, Manukau School of Visual Arts; Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA), Manukau School of Visual Arts. Her work is held in both Aotearoa New Zealand and Australian collections. 

 

View artwork
Estefania Mondaca Fibla
Ōtautahi

Estefania Mondaca is an Ōtautahi based painter who was born in the port of Coquimbo, Chile in July 1988. In 2006 she entered to study a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of Chile, moving to live in Santiago. She exhibited for the first time with “Perennial Symphony” at the Domo of Coquimbo in the summer of 2009. In 2012 she returned to live in Coquimbo, exhibiting her thesis “The towers of the Desert” at The House of the Arts in the same city. Before coming to New Zealand in 2015 she participated in the "Medrano Workshop" together with the sculptor Gabriel Bujes, with whom she held various exhibitions throughout the region.
  

In May 2021 she began to exhibit in New Zealand, showing her first series "Memory Distortion" made entirely in this country. Since then, she has been sharing her work in different galleries in Christchurch.

View artwork
Ferne McIntosh
Geraldine

 Coming from both Scottish and New Zealand Māori ancestry, Ferne McIntosh's intentions surface from a deep knowing of Indigenous earthy roots. Having formed her own visual language as a continuing theme throughout her artworks, each piece follows a thread of spiritual awareness through a connection to nature. Raw sewn canvas sized with rabbit skin glue, oil or mixed media; Ferne is a painter of large figurative contemporary landscapes.
  

Encounters of the inner and outer terrains on a universal scale. Boundaries between physical and emotional places are communicated through highly charged use of materials. Abstract ambiguous human figures within Ferne's work are representational of the Anthropocene.
  

Ferne acquired her BFA Hons in 2011 and a further design and illustrative educational background.

View artwork
Karen Greenslade
Ōtautahi

Karen Greenslade graduated with a BFA from the University of Canterbury in 2016. She had previously graduated with a Teaching Diploma, a BA in Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education. She travelled widely before living and working on the West Coast with her partner and three children for over 30 years. During her Coast years Greenslade developed a keen sense of the need for sustainable management of the surrounding natural environment.
  

After finishing art school in 2016 Karen has worked on two main series of paintings: Where the Creek Runs, largely influenced by her West Coast Years and more recently her series Layer Upon Layer, which reflects her time on New Zealand’s eastern coast, especially the Canterbury region where she grew up.
  

Both series employ similar media, techniques and themes. They are expressive paintings on paper using handmade inks, charcoal, pencil, water-based paint and printing inks. These are mixed media works often mounted on pure silk or linen. They represent themes of fragile, localized natural environments and are often blended with imagery speaking of women’s interests in the textile arts and floral design within a family domestic context. They are both feminine and feminist works; statements of the value, and also the elevation, of women’s status in the world of Fine Arts.

View artwork
Mi Kyung Jang
Lincoln

MiKyung Jang is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily across sculpture, painting and clay. After migrating to New Zealand from South Korea, she started taking art classes and by 2012 she was learning classical painting and drawing at the Russian Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. This motivated her to study at the University of Canterbury and embark on her career as a full-time artist. 

  
Mi Kyung’s art focuses on our relationship with the natural world. She considers herself lucky to have been born and raised in the countryside in Korea. She grew up befriending animals, insects, and plants. These childhood experiences played an important part in giving her insight into understanding the natural world and teaching her that humans and nature cannot be disassociated. 

  
She clears her mind while creating art works. When she calms her mind, she feels all the creatures on earth are connected as one. The body feels like one figure made up of millions of cells. She believes that if humans can treat nature with love, it will return as love. The connectedness of all creatures on earth and the love for nature are expressed in the earthy tones and organic shapes of her forms. She invites the viewer to slow down and enjoy her work which embodies her contemplation of humanity in all its complexities.

View artwork
Rachel Ratten
Timaru

Rachel Ratten is a painter, printmaker and textile artist. Her contemporary quilt works are painterly in their treatment of composition and colour. Often beginning with ink washes to inspire shapes for fabric pieces to assemble or deconstruct, Rachel’s process is a deeply intentional one. In the quilting of the fabric she marries structured, repetitive linework with the waves of colour, giving them a frame to hold to. She has quilted for over twenty years. 

  
She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a P.G. Dip in Visual and Material Studies and BFA (Hons). For her MFA at Canterbury she moved her focus to the more ‘formal’ elements of design and composition, with narrative deliberately excluded. For this sharp turn away from her previously more traditional path, she started using solid fabrics rather than paint and ink. Design aesthetics and knowledge gained through her art journey mean she can bridge her traditional stitching skills with a contemporary usage of colour and composition elements. She has taught painting and printmaking at Aoraki Polytechnic, and her work is held in collections both throughout New Zealand and internationally.

View artwork
Rachel Sleigh
Ōtautahi

Rachel Sleigh’s work uses landscape as a medium to understand society. Rachel’s work explores aspects of our relationship with whenua that are unique to Aotearoa. Her practice often reflects on a landscape interrupted and through the materiality of her work different ways of understanding this relationship and the values at play are suggested. Through a process of creating and casting objects, forms are presented as markers for contemplating new ways of moving forward. Situated in a decolonial context Sleigh carefully records evidence of her encounters with the whenua without removal or estrangement. In her use of wax as a casting material she alludes to the preservation of the moments of these interactions and invites audiences to engage with the environments in which they participate. 

  
Rachel Sleigh lives in Ōtautahi. At the end of 2021 she completed a BFA (Hons) majoring in Sculpture at Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury.

 

View artwork
Sam Walker
Te Whanganui-a-Tara

Sam Walker is a New Zealand based artist raised in the greenbelt of Ōtautahi Christchurch. She studied painting at the Ilam School of Fine Arts. Upon the completion of her Masters Degree in late 2020 Walker moved to the greater Pōneke Wellington area, where she now resides.
  

Her artistic sentiments are a mix of semi-rural experience and formative years skirting around a broken city centre. The familiar landscape and notions of ‘brokenness’ are translated into the subjects of Walker’s work. The techniques of her paintings hover at perceptual lines, resulting in eerie and liminal impressions.

View artwork
Samantha Allen
Whakatū

Samantha Allen is a self-taught acrylic painter based in Nelson. She takes note from the surrealist, cubist and abstract art movements.
  

Samantha's work is inspired by notions of self, stability in the sense of home and belonging, and critical self-reflection. Increasingly, she is also drawing inspiration from the tangled and often awry thoughts and thought processes we have in the more difficult moments of the human experience.
  

Samantha has always painted, but she particularly started developing her style in her university years studying Gender Studies and Sociology, and then onto law. After she finished her law degree in 2016, she continued to paint as she lived in Wellington, Tauranga and Nelson, balancing painting with forging her litigation career in family and then criminal law.
  

Since moving to Nelson in mid-2019, painting has had a more formal place in Samantha's day to day life. She has been exhibiting since 2021.

View artwork
Kakahi: freshwater mussel shell necklace from Grandmother, Mi Kyung Jang
More about this artwork

Part II


Stoneware ceramic, foraged clay, glass,
cotton
Variable
2024

Brace Arrangements II and III, Amy Unkovich
More about this artwork

Part II


Arrangement II
Half scale oblique opposite
Steel, paint
375 x 1125mm



Arrangement III
Half scale three piece parallel and
expressionist drop sheet
Painted steel and painted cotton
Steel, paint, cotton, acrylic
375 x 1125mm

Ongaruru Beach, Rachel Sleigh
More about this artwork

Part II


Cast Bronze
Variable
2024

A View of the Night Sky, Colleen Altagracia
More about this artwork

Part II


Lightbox painting, MDF, UV
256 x 256 x 80mm
2024

Colour Construction #21, Rachel Ratten
More about this artwork

Part II


Commercial and hand-dyed cotton
1490 x 1260mm
2024

Shame Wound and Untitled, Estefania Mondaca Fibla
More about this artwork

Part I


Shame Wound
Oil on canvas
910 x 1200 mm
2024



Untitled
Oil on canvas
910 x 1200 mm
2024

Her Fertility Turned Her Heart to Stone, After Jordaens, Anita DeSoto
More about this artwork

Part I


Oil on canvas
1980 x 1830 mm
2024

The Guardians, Ferne McIntosh
More about this artwork

Part I


Oil on board
810 x 1230 mm
830 x 1230 mm
810 1230 mm
2024

Ensemble, Ava Trevella
More about this artwork

Part I


Oil, acrylic, ink and graphite on canvas
550 x 405 mm
2024

Annotations, Samantha Allen
More about this artwork

Part I


Acrylic on canvas
500 x 600 mm
2023

Upstream, Kahikatea Mourning, Karen Greenslade
More about this artwork

Part I


Printing inks, handmade inks, found
domestic textiles on rice paper
20 panels ranging in size, 110-150 mm width
x 1300-2000 mm height
2024

Rearview, Sam Walker
More about this artwork

Part I


Oil on cradled board
550 x 360 mm
2024