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10,000 Objects - 2011

View Alexander Bartleet Catalogue and Text by Warwick Brown here Young emerging artist Alex Bartleet is unearthing artifacts and buried treasures – those you have ...

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View Alexander Bartleet Catalogue and Text by Warwick Brown here
Young emerging artist Alex Bartleet is unearthing artifacts and buried treasures – those you have quite possibly just thrown away. Incredibly there are over 10,000 objects utilized in the artworks, in the inaugural exhibition which opens in March. The major artwork in the show will take up one complete wall of the Parnell Gallery. Bartleet states “I prefer to use found objects as opposed to their transferred or representational images. Preserved within the surfaces, discarded and forgotten objects are presented in a new light. I also aim to achieve unfamiliarity with my subjects, to reactivate them within the context of art and offer fresh prospects and potential to adopt new relationships and characteristics”
If archaeology is the study of the material evidence of previous cultures and civilizations then Alexander Bartleet could be described as a contemporary archaeologist. As an artist working with 20th century objects and artifacts, Bartleet is preserving and re-creating mass produced items and parts thereof, immortalizing them into sculptural art forms. The sum of the parts (in many cases, over 1000 items incorporated into one artwork), is as monumental as the finished piece.
Modern manufacturing methods, particularly the use of plastic moulding resins and die cast metals in the mid-20th Century revolutionized manufacturing. Items have been mass produced in unprecedented numbers with millions of objects being produced under the auspices of advertising, global supply and planned obsolescence. This has instilled a throw-away mentality into modern society. The underlying theme of Bartleet’s Art however is one of acknowledgement, re-invention and preservation of these discarded manufactures rather than contention. The myriad of items ranging from McDonalds premiums to old cell phone cases and other 20th century flotsam and jetsam are all accorded equal status, emphasized by the overall monotone or multi-coloured paint finish to each artwork. The contrasting colours, shapes, origins and intrinsic values of the items have by virtue of the over painting, been stripped of their individual value, purpose and design. Items incorporated into the artworks for example include plastic toys, fittings & fixtures, computer parts, an aluminium tennis racquet, old kitchen utensils, packaging, in fact any discarded item from modern civilization. Bartleet States, “I am attracted to things that uncover evidence of their past. In particular surfaces that become blemished and worn over time, exposing sediments, histories and provenances”.
The care and attention to detail in each artwork is readily apparent and it is obvious the artwork and objects have been meticulously plotted, arranged and then paint finished. Despite the reduction in colour, shape and individuality of each article, the objects are often strikingly recognizable. The intrinsic and nostalgic value of each item has by accident or design been surprisingly emphasized. For many viewers childhood memories are rekindled. “I like to keep the works open and not isolate one particular object or idea so the viewer/owner can enjoy exploring the surface, discover new shapes and identify new meaning to the surfaces/objects just as I do when making them” Bartleet states.
Previously a pile of inorganic junk, obsolete objects and the remnants of a throwaway 20th century civilization, these items have collectively morphed into artifacts and objet d’art of the 21st century. Many objects and artworks discovered at archaeological sites remain the only record of ancient civilizations and their culture. Bartleet’s artworks take archival preservation of the 20th century to a completely different level. “Alexander Bartleet is a very exciting new talent” says Gallery Director Warwick Henderson. “His work in the BMW Art Award received some of the most favourable comment and attention and this inaugural Solo show is keenly anticipated”.
Alex Bartleet won the Mazda Emerging Artist Award in 2007, The BMW Emerging Artist Award in 2008 and was invited to complete a painted bonnet in the prestigious BMW Art awards for 2010.

The show opens with a Preview on Tuesday 15th March 2011, and continues until the 9th April 2011.

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Level 1, 255 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland (Up the escalator by Paper Plus) All Correspondence to PO Box 37602, Parnell Auckland.

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