New Zealand artist Lauren Lysaght is well known for the social commentary which runs fluidly throughout her work, as well as her fondness of “low-rent,” found and kitsch materials – often strategically used to further illustrate her point. Self taught, Lysaght uses her practice to draw attention to our society’s issues and tribulations from disability, gender and poverty, through to perceptions on everything from pornography to ageing.
Her new exhibition Big Deal takes on the white-collar criminals whose devilish actions lead to investigative segments on the evening news. The twelve works are visual puns inspired by the ironies of the business world. Backscratchers are painted as arms with suit sleeves and shirt cuffs. A collection of white collars huddle together on their individual plinths, black tongues loll out of suitcases and winged suited arms suggest a businessman’s fall from grace.
For Lysaght, a knowing sense of humour is an integral part of her artistic approach, both in concept and in the naming of her work. Big Deal adds tongue-in-cheek titles like ‘St Ponzi, Patron Saint of All Swindlers’ and prank call pseudonyms ‘Mr H. Ubris’ and ‘Mr. S.W. Anky’ to a lengthy repertoire including ‘That Old Familiar Feeling’, ‘Wall of Denial’ and ‘Apocalypse Now or Later’.
Big Deal exhibits at Whitespace Gallery from 20 October to 8 November, open daily from 11am Tuesday through Saturday. Image credit: Bigdealbeingdone, 5 Collars (detail) courtesy of Whitespace Gallery.