To The Glory with Super Mario. G_Space at NMIT. 2018
The stairway from Catch a Star (often percieved as stairway to heaven) is invited to NMIT’s g_space, thanks to Nicholas Haig. He curates it perched atop my work ladder and writes;
There is a moment part way through Tomas Tranströmer’s poem Allegro when the ground seems to give way. It’s not a profound moment but a comedic one, and it comes – in this nimble but melancholy poem concerning the music of the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn – when Tranströmer writes of “shoving his hands in his haydnpockets.” There was a similar moment when I first came across Nelson-based artist and designer Lee Woodman’s installation, Catch a Star, in the Nelson Cathedral. An elegantly conceived set of meticulously constructed festive objects suddenly became an absurdist assemblage at the thought of “Super Mario” bursting through a stained-glass window in the hunt for ‘the glory’. The staircase displayed here was part of a suite of works Woodman made on commission for the Nelson City Council for the purpose of enhancing the city during the Christmas celebrations of 2017.1 The work Woodman produced was designed specifically to hang high above the nave in the Nelson Cathedral. Comprised of the staircase, a series of platforms and boxes and the titular star, and constructed from timber, drafting film, thread, lasercut Plywood, acrylic, and strip LED lighting, the installation riffed on the “journey to the star” by the three wise men. A riff with a twist, however, in that a parallel inspiration was Nintendo’s Super Mario 64 universe.2 Now, resting somewhat uncomfortably on top of Woodman’s work ladder in the space of the gallery, the staircase is doing a different sort of work, is signifying differently. But, I would suggest, it is still involved in a form of “glorious” work: the: “glorious work” of artistic activity. But then again, although it now looks more akin to a Sol LeWitt sculpture than an oversized Christmas decoration, To the glory (with Super Mario) (as it has now been titled) still carries with it traces and resonances of its initial purpose while also (forgive the wending train of thought) hinting at what Woodman managed to spirit – gently – into the Cathedral in the first place: pieces of capitalistic gaming and spectacle culture. A simple scenario, deftly conceived. 1 The staircase and other objects will return to the Cathedral next Christmas. 2 The Super Mario “platform” games involve “Mario” ‘running and jumping ‘across platforms and atop enemies in themed levels. The games have simple plots, typically with Mario rescuing the kidnapped Princess Peach from the primary antagonist, Bowser.’ A product of the 1980s, Super Mario was developed by Nintendo, a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company. Nicholas Haig and Fi Johnstone March 19 2018
Catch A Star. Site specific installation at Christ Church Cathedral, Nelson NZ, 2017-18
A commission from Nelson City Council to enhance the city for Christmas 2017. The brief was open to anywhere from top of Trafalgar St, through to Church steps, Church grounds or within the Cathedral itself. My response was a riff on the journey to the star by the three wise men, but with the aesthetic inspiration coming from Nintendo’s Super Mario 64, hung 11 metres above the nave in the Cathedral. Here’s a wee clip by Fraser Heal to the making of Catch a Star; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nyu8nsKTa6k
Materials; Timber, drafting film, thread, lasercut Plywood and acrylic, strip led lighting.
View Shaft. Site specific installation at Suter Art Gallery, Nelson NZ. 2017
Creating a web of thread that veils the outlook from The Suter into Queen’s Gardens, Lee Woodman’s installation View Shaft creates a delicate lens that augments our vision and forces the viewer to engage with the artwork in order to contemplate the view.
Woodman has laboriously built layers of thread to create a detailed three dimensional maze. He seamlessly combines the mathematical precision needed to build this elaborate structure with the wistful nostalgia of childhood string games. The result, rather than being kitsch or ethereal, is instead architectural and resonant. – Sarah McClintock, Suter Art Gallery Curator
Yellow Yellow. Parker Gallery, 22nd June – 13th July 2017
Yellow Yellow consisted of a site specific installation in thread and stone, some objects in thread and hemp, and a number of high resolution scans of yellow thread. The show was intended to be ‘visual vitamin C’ for our winter in Nelson.
eternal summer. Installation at Bridge Street Collective, 9th February – March 2016
‘eternal summer’ is a tribute to that which is soon to be dying, but remembered as always alive, growing, even blossoming. Tokens of summer are here gathered and treasured, while suspending belief that it withers and dries.
Memory is the over-arching impetus of eternal summer. Fond memories with romantic, summery glows, forever to stay that way, if we maintain them.
Flight is a secondary inspiration to eternal summer. Flight compels leaving, changing state, evolving. Nature has found the most effective way to fly I believe, and seed pod distribution displays a micro scale testament to that. The Sycamore seed reminds me of concept drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci depicting machines for human flight, while dandelion seeds command ubiquitous imagery as miniature parachutes sailing on any light breeze.
Death is the third tenant to eternal summer. Death exists only where there is life, and yet to some of us, death is considered the worst enemy of all. That would seem absurd if we openly witness our seasons. In this there is no eternal, change is the only constant. The summer’s heat cannot endure infinitely, it must give in to the following season and through this, death is initiated. Our experience of death evokes our memory, and in some cultures, flight is a consequence of death too.
Lee Woodman, February 2016
Heavy/light. Refinery ArtSpace Installation. October 5th – 20th, 2015
Medium: Paper, Stone, Steel pipe, Thread.
Heavy/light is an installation using the materials; paper, stone, thread, and steel.
The orchestration of opposites in Heavy/light is about equivocation, tension, and balance.
Weight, mass, and the associated physics are apparent where the stones hang, yet each stone is carried by something light. The stones evoke permanence and mass, while the paper is fragile and relatively temporary. The colour black represents mass, a dense heaviness.
The thread can also be thought of as light, an ephemeral delicate screen, such as a spider’s web.
‘Light’ in this installation also refers to lumens. The power of a candle or bulb. Here, light is used to create a separation. Together with the thread, the light suggests a barrier or screen to another dimension.
String Theory. Salt Gallery, Nelson. 13th May – 30th June 2015
Ann Braunsteiner and Lee Woodman
The name for my installation Three Fold Cord is a nod to the biblical scripture from Ecclesiastes chapter 4 v 12; ‘And if a man prevail against one, two shall withstand him: a threefold cord is not easily broken’. Or in todays’ language; ‘in a tough situation, two is better than one no doubt, but three is even better’. There are many other quotes that promote the advantages of teamwork, like ‘Many hands make light work’.
It would be impossible for one thread to hold any of these rocks, but for multiple threads it becomes possible. Furthermore, it becomes apparent during construction that some threads do not contribute at all to the load but stay loose, yet the rock still hangs.
Three Fold Cord plays on physics and engineering, with some visual inspiration from sailing ship rigging. These thread installations aspire to respond to the given structure of the building.
My line drawings are experiments in repetition, finding differences between straight lines and converging lines. All hand drawn in pencil, the works are meditations on different ideas and compositions.
The scans of Tangled Up are the opposite; documented moments of randomness never to be repeated. This tangle of thread is a re-use of thread from previous practice installations.
String theory for me relates to both the structured and the chaotic. Some parts are rational, comprehensible, and other parts are random, and hard to quantify. Both are needed for any form of unification theory such as String theory.
Lee Woodman 2015
Meditation in Red. Installation for Canopy Design in Lucas House, Nelson. 2014
Meditations on Hundertwasser. Bridge St Collective, May 2014
Paper, Rock. Art in Windows, Nelson NZ. October 2013
Impressions Art Awards October 2013
Meditation on Hundertwasser’s ‘ungodly’ straight line #2 won ‘Best Artist from Top of the South’
AnnCT, Larisse Hall, Lee Woodman. Refinery Artspace, Nelson. May 2013
New Members Exhibition. April 2013
AnnCT Braunsteiner, Lee Woodman. McKee Gallery, Nelson NZ. January 2013
Final year exhibition, Victoria University. November 2012