‘New Monuments’ is a selection of recent photographs about image culture and the changing landscape of Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu/New Zealand. It is about how our experiences of this place are mediated through images, and how these landscapes, their histories, and our experiences of them, are commodified. The pictures selected depict the artificial sublime in New Zealand, focusing on the mediated, constructed landscape in a world of images, where everything is digitally altered and enhanced. These photographs are a reaction to the grotesque everyday picturesque depictions of nature in our consumer society and to the follies of our evermore-elaborate attempts at resource extraction from this place, as well as the ‘monuments’ these changes leave behind.
Mark Bolland and I had neighbouring tables at the first NZ PhotoBook Fair in March 2016 at Massey University, so naturally we got talking about photography and Mark introduced me to his landscape works. It says in the page About exhibiting at Photospace Gallery, "Note: if your photographs fall into the general categories of Travel, Scenic Landscape, or Close-ups of Nature, they will have to be extraordinarily good to merit an exhibition." Prompted by Mark's exhibition work, I've just changed this to read, 'of exceptionally high quality, and/or extraordinary', but I believe these artworks qualify by way of undercutting the traditional, pictorial approach to the New Zealand landscape. Come and judge for yourself.
Mark Bolland's first exhibition at Photospace Gallery, 'New Monuments', opens on Friday 24th March and runs until 15th April, 2017.
Mark will give a gallery talk about his work on Saturday, 25th March.
Mark Bolland teaches Photography and Electronic Arts at Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2004 he has divided his time between teaching, writing and his art practice. He has written essays for exhibition catalogues and many articles for journals and magazines, and exhibited photographs in both the UK and New Zealand. Most recently he was a finalist in the 2016 National Contemporary Art Award at the Waikato Museum.