18/02/23 — 16/03/23
18/02/23 — 16/03/23
Cat Fooks’ new exhibition is named for the Terebella, a species of burrow-dwelling marine worm from the subclass Sedentaria. Like its relative, the Sabella Pavonina or ‘feather duster’, the Terebella is equipped with a plume of tentacles that allows it to feed on the ocean’s organic debris. The worm’s modus operandi is not unlike that of Fooks; it constructs its distinctive ‘tube’ by embedding fragments of shells and stones in a fibre-like organic substance.
Fooks’ burrow is the ballroom-scale basement of a 1901 Onehunga building which she has been ensconced in since 2011. Surrounded by a polymorphous cacophany of gleanings from the ejected economy of second-hand goods and a ready supply of rejected paintings and moulding paste, the artist has devised a court of serendipity — an environment designed to trip up her own agency. Much has been made of the top layer of Fooks’ work, that generous coating of artist grade oil paint and miss-tint enamel from the local hardware store in which the ingredients of her art are suspended. The appeal of glossy lustre and tactile surface easily distracts from the artist’s dogged ongoing investigation.
Just as the adornment of the worm’s tube is determined by the interception of creature and habitat, Fooks is preoccupied by the relation between art and environment. The silted-up basement ballroom is her means of circumnavigating familiar instinct in order to coax forth a more wayward and unpredictable knowledge.
Cat Fooks was born in Kirikiriroa Hamilton in 1976. She graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Communication majoring in Painting from Unitec in 1999 and held her first solo exhibition, Pleasant St., at Anna Miles Gallery in 2016. Recent exhibitions include Deadweight Loss: The Value of Making, Objectspace, 2020, Cake by the Ocean, Ramp Gallery, Wintec Te Pūkenga, 2022 and Howling Cat, Viewfinder Nelson, 2022.