your books, my photos
Friday June 18
"Engraved: your books, my photos", Jenny Hjertquist and Dallas Robertson
The loss of friendship is frequently overlooked in Pakeha or Western cultures and as a result there is a corresponding absence of "acceptable" levels of grief or protocols for memorialising. Jenny Hjertquist and Dallas Robertson’s exhibition "Engraved: your books, my photos" is notable for acknowledging the significance of friendships lost and for the ways in which it formally embodies this loss.
The materials (concrete, chains), imagery (tombstones, blanked-out faces, black voids), and titles (blank, Gwaedu ["bleed" in Welsh]) are all refreshingly, to use another title "candid". Despite the literal heaviness of concrete sculptures, and photographs of tombstones and grave yards, and a stunning antique vitrine, the exhibition nevertheless avoids being heavy handed. In the attempt to figure out how well-worn subject matter, such as tombstones and graves, could be reworked anew, I reached the tentative conclusion that the role of collaboration is key.
On a conceptual level, the collaboration between Hjertquist and Robertson itself suggests, if not celebrates, that healing and the development of new friendships are possible. This manifests at the level of materials as the juxtaposition of heavy concrete (Hjertquist’s "lithic sculptures") with light photographs (Robertson’s silver gelatin prints). The physical lightness of the photographs offsets the weight of the concrete, and the blank slabs of concrete counter the heaviness of the imagery. This is particularly evident in the most clearly collaborative works: a suite of three sculptural works where resin unites concrete and photograph
ROBYN MAREE PICKENS, Otago Daily Times, Art Seen, June 24 2021