Sumer is pleased to present Joy Field, a suite of new large-scale drawings by Sarah Smuts-Kennedy. This exhibition is the artist’s first time showing with the gallery.
Appearing ethereal and cloud-like, the drawings with their layered gestural marks, oscillate and swirl. Whilst abstract they suggest space and form. Not landscapes, least not in the traditional sense. There is no horizon and the depth of field is shallow. And with no hard edges or boundaries—other than the paper upon which the marks reside—they do not register as interiors either. The spaces intimated are instead something more akin to a garden, or a bower; an external expanding space, but one that is at the same time cloistered, intimate and in reach.
The works are documents of a series of scripted automatic actions undertaken by the artist in her studio over the past year; expanding upon a project that she first commenced during her time as a McCahon House Artist in Residence in 2016. Following intuition and meditative practices, the works function as expressions of the artist’s desire to reveal fields of energy. Smuts-Kennedy describes them as Joy Fields: images which embody the positive joyful life-giving energy of a given moment, space or time. These works reflect her priority in balancing in the forces of syntropy and entropy, within artistic and creative endeavours, hers and also others (as within living systems, or life as a whole).
Sarah Smuts-Kennedy (b. 1966, Lower Hutt, Aotearoa New Zealand) graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2012. Her works are housed in public and private collections both in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Recent solo exhibitions include Joy Field, Sumer, Tauranga (2021), Energy in Quiescence, Sophie Gannon Gallery, Melbourne (2019), Light Language, Te Uru, Auckland (2017), Frequency of the Earth, Artspace Aotearoa (2017), Events within Boundaries, RM, Auckland (2015–16). Her social sculptural commission For The Love of Bees (2016–ongoing) has triggered a resurgence of regenerative organic urban farms and community compost hubs across New Zealand. She continues to do visioning, environmental advocacy and educational work for this platform.