The XX Factor 2.0

October 10 — November 21, 2020

Reprising the gallery’s 2016 curated group exhibition The XX Factor in this year of global pandemic, The XX Factor 2.0 explores more existential themes: life/death, separation/loss, systems of power, speaking to the global moment not by way of works made in response to the pandemic but discursively, in works made over decades of sustained practices by artists ever-engaged with these ideas. This exhibition is itself a curation to replace one of five exhibitions re-scheduled in this COVID year to next year or beyond.

A play on the doubled chromosome and subversive of the commonplace glib male evaluation of women’s ‘x factor’, THE XX FACTOR 2.0 is a challenging yet contemplative mix of moving image, photography and painting by noted New Zealand artists Stella Brennan, Julia Morison, Marie Shannon, Heather Straka and Christine Webster (based in the UK and unable to mount her planned 2020 solo exhibition in the gallery). Two X chromosomes speak volumes: through millennia, they have delivered the realities and rigours and flights of imagination of roughly half of humankind, encompassing biology and expanding the socio-cultural norms and particularities of each era/place.

Stella Brennan’s Object Permanence interrogates permanence, both of objects and the energies arising from nuclear radiation, and how the time scales involved must invoke fresh human thinking, a critical component of this pandemic year. As well, the daily lived experience shared globally has been dramatically altered in novel ways, marked by compression and separation leavened by the ubiquity of digital connectedness. Brennan’s More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid, a photographic diptych made in 2003 of a textile work of the same title, Julia Morison’s recent Headcase works and Marie Shannon’s Map of My Day from 1992 illuminate these feeling states, while others of Shannon’s works delve with elegant eloquence into separation and loss.

Systems of power are obliquely or more directly explored in Shannon’s Dollars and others of Morison’s works, and those of Heather Straka. Christine Webster’s The Skeleton, 1997/2015, a poignant reminder of the earlier AIDS pandemic, has the esteemed dancer and choreographer Douglas Wright dancing in death’s grip – an artwork both highly prescient and a potent convergence of existential themes, a most apposite inclusion in this exhibition in this pandemic year.

  • CHRISTINE WEBSTER
    The Skeleton, 1997/2015
    Colour digital photograph
    1180 x 1500 mm
  • JULIA MORISON
    Spellbound 02, 2019
    Oil on polyurethane board
    1290 x 1080 mm
  • JULIA MORISON
    Spellbound 01, 2019
    Oil on polyurethane board
    1290 x 1080 mm
  • STELLA BRENNAN
    Object Permanence, 2018
    Single channel video
    Duration: 12:53
  • MARIE SHANNON
    Dollars, 2016
    Archival inkjet print
    635 x 800 mm
  • STELLA BRENNAN
    More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid, 2003
    Photographs on Fuji archival paper
    1200 x 1500 mm each
  • JULIA MORISON
    Abracadabra, 2019
    Oil on canvas
    2204 x 1250 mm
  • JULIA MORISON
    I'm done... Take ten, 2018
    Glazed porcelain
    285 x 160 mm
  • JULIA MORISON
    100 Headless Woman, 1995
    Found postcards
    2032 x 1524 mm
  • MARIE SHANNON
    Map of My Day, 1992
    Silver gelatin photograph, selenium toned
    500 x 400mm
  • HEATHER STRAKA
    Teamwork (part II), 2019
    Archival pigment photograph on Photorag Ultrasmooth
    1210 x 2060 mm paper size, 1330 x 2180mm framed
  • MARIE SHANNON
    The Aachen Faxes, 2012
    Digital video and sound
    Duration: 15:30
  • MARIE SHANNON
    Home and Abroad, 1990
    Silver gelatin photograph, selenium toned
    400 x 500 mm
  • MARIE SHANNON
    I Love You #2, 2005
    Silver gelatin photograph, selenium toned
    592 x 483 mm