Susan Te Kahurangi King’s drawings on paper, which the 63-year-old self-taught artist makes using pencils, coloured pencils, crayons and felt-tip pens, have rarely been shown publicly. Recently, though, they have begun to appear in exhibitions and receive serious critical attention in the artist’s native New Zealand and overseas.
Her unusual works share some remarkable affinities with certain kinds of modern art, including, for example, perspective-busting cubist painting. Unwittingly, like postmodern appropriationist art, King’s pictures may take their source material out of its original contexts, place it in new artistic settings and allow it to find new meanings. In King’s case, Donald Duck and other popular cartoon characters, whose familiar depictions the artist distorts and brings into her own complex compositions, play a role in this appropriationist, meaning-shifting process. The results can be intriguing and dazzling.
A selection of King’s works will be shown in “Susan Te Kahurangi King: Drawings from Many Worlds”, a forthcoming exhibition at Andrew Edlin Gallery in New York (November 1 – December 20, 2014.) It is being organised by the American artist, independent curator and Dallas Art Fair co-director Chris Byrne and Ed Marquand, the Seattle-based head of Marquand Books, a publisher of high-quality art books. Earlier this year, at the Outsider Art Fair in New York, Byrne and Marquand presented King’s drawings to considerable acclaim. They are now assembling a book about her work.
Caption: Untitled, c. 1960, crayon on paper, 13.5 x 8.25 ins., 34 x 21 cm