MEANWHILE

LEVEL 2, 99 WILLIS STREET 

TE ARO, TE WHANGANUI-A-TARA 

WELLINGTON

IF YOU MISS ME, LET ME KNOW

NATASHA MATILA-SMITH AND TALIA SMITH

3 MAY - 19 MAY 2018

If you miss me, let me know considers loneliness and discomfort, and their relation to larger social and economic structures. The artists use objects and places of personal significance to verbalise uncomfortable, unspeakable feelings of loss and longing.

 

Though the works in this exhibition draw heavily upon the artists’ personal experiences, they remain sensitive to the structural, political, and economic dimensions of loneliness. Much like Olivia Laing states in The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, contemporary experience is often haunted by an  “omnipresent, unanswerable feeling that [one is] in a state of lack, that [one doesn’t] have what people [are] supposed to.” The drive behind our desires are often tied to the system that we live in, more so than something innate in us. Intimacy, satisfaction, happiness, and even contentment are difficult, and near impossible, to achieve - and this failure, more often than not, is interpreted as some individual shortcoming. The artists in If you miss me, let me know rework this failure using humour and confession.

 

Natasha Matila-Smith’s shares honest admissions that are at times as universal as they are deeply personal. Part advertisement, part confessional, her works are an ode to a man she has romantic feelings for, in the hope he might reciprocate (even though the romantic gestures are not explicitly addressed to him). In a wider context, the work is about the construction of ideas, the construct of beauty and how media and capitalism manipulates us to its unrealistic expectations.

 

Talia Smith’s work focuses on particular sites of personal significance, to trace human presence on the land. Drawing upon Rebecca Solnit’s expanded consideration of the colour blue and its sociological implications, as well as Walter Benjamin’s writings on longing, Smith materialises the the intangible through cyanotypes and video.

Natasha Matila-Smith is an artist and writer based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Her recent bodies of work look at contemporary social interactions and anxieties through the digital landscape and installation. Natasha’s recent exhibitions include Hard Feelings, The Honeymoon Suite (Melbourne), 2018; Between you and me, ST Paul Street Gallery (Auckland), 2018; Heavenly Creatures, Verge Gallery (Sydney), 2018; You’re my number 1, Firstdraft Gallery (Sydney), 2017 and In The Flesh, Blue Oyster art project space (Dunedin), 2017. As a writer, Natasha has contributed to many online and print publications which include Runway Australian Experimental Art (AU), Matters Aotearoa (NZ), Enjoy Occasional Journal (NZ) and Un Magazine (AU).

 

Talia Smith is an artist and curator from Taranaki and now based in Warrang Sydney. She is of Cook Island, Samoan and NZ European heritage. Her photographic and video practice examines notions of time, memory and the ruin within the landscape. She has exhibited widely in New Zealand, Australia, Germany and New York. She is 2018’s emerging curator for Artbank Sydney, is the current Chair of Runway Australian Experimental Art and is the founder and co-director of artist run space Cold Cuts.

Photos: Rebecca Bakker (above), Mia Vinaccia (below)