Robyne Voyce
Bryndwr 17

Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch
25 February - 14 March 2004

Photographs: Robyne Voyce

Text: Kirsten Rennie

Textile and fabric artist Robyne Voyce presents her latest body of work 'Bryndwr 17'. The show takes its name from the artist's old bus route operating in the 1960's out of suburbia and into Christchurch central and it marks a psychological journey back in time and a re-structuring of early childhood in order to make sense out of the present.

In the original concept for the show red bricks were to be used as the building blocks for the work-Voyce grew up in a 'red brick' house that has subsequently been converted into a much altered Church. The bricks have been exchanged for the lightweight alternative of polystyrene indicating that childhood is no longer a stumbling block despite the dramatic changes that occur in the landscape of our memory over time.

Voyce pieces together her past, drawing in fabrics and images from books that she has stored since early childhood. 'The Chimpanzee's Tea Party', backed with a magnificent piece of original polished cotton fabric is overlaid with brick-covered images of a chimpanzee and a 'Japanese Tea Party' that recalls an early transfixing visit to Wellington Zoo. The insects interspersed have the sense of inkblots presented to a patient by the psychologist for interpretation in order to ascertain clues to the identity of the subject.

Voyce's previous vocation as a furniture and fashion designer and her careful treatment of fabric continue to inform her artistic practice. The images are highly polished, with fine attention to detail and have an inherently balanced quality. Frequently incorporating dressmaking tools and techniques, Voyce 'quilts' together evocative images from another time that form an entry point for our own memories.

Text: William Dudley

Driving past the Centre of Contemporary Art, late one evening, I nearly had an accident when I saw these dimly lit, beautifully coloured works glowing in the gallery window. I promptly stopped for a better look.... The exhibition, with the intriguing title 'Bryndwr 17' was the work of (fibre) artist Robyne Voyce.

>From the exhibition statement I learned that the show took its name from the artist's old bus route and that the exhibition was a look back at her past in 1960's and 70's in Christchurch suburbia. The basic elements used were covered or painted polystyrene 'bricks' laid out in careful patterns on an array of vintage fabric covered wall panels or arranged as free standing constructions. The exhibition reminded me of the work of the Italian 'Arte Povera' artists of the 1970's, an aesthetic unfortunately rarely seen in Christchurch.

Voyce must have an amazing array of fabrics and books to draw from, looking at the work she presented. The use of children's books pages attached with pins, often in the eyes of the protagonists + the references to 1960's culture (Woodstock, the Beverley Hillbillies, Pop Art) all added to a very stimulating and thought provoking exhibition.