Axiom, George Fraser Gallery (2018)

Roma Anderson, Latitude, staggered/looping, projected and animated, processed, digital scans of 35mm film, 2017

Roma Anderson, Longitude, staggered/looping, projected and animated, processed, digital screenshots of underwater moving image work, 2017

Roma Anderson, Compass, staggered/looping, projected and animated, processed, digital scans of 120mm film, with accompanying digitised readings of associated texts, 2017


Exhibition Statement:

A statement or proposition which is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true.

Axiom is a contrasting display of photography, object and moving image/sound installations that challenges and redefines long-held aesthetic beliefs about the environment, and how it is has been displayed in New Zealand’s colonial history.


Artist Statement:

James S. Watson:
James’ photographs deepen his practice into macro-photography to bring to light the most minute details of crystals, minerals and fossils. He subverts the conventional experience of precious objects and relics, presenting them in exquisite detail in conjunction with the objects themselves; redefining the relationship between image, catalogue and display in a contemporary art context.


Roma Anderson:
Roma’s practice focuses on acting as a conduit for the vibrant political agency and energy of the Tamaki estuary in protest of its neglect and pollution at the hands of encroaching urban areas.

Roma’s moving image works are aggressive and colourful looping projections. They utilise video and sound media: juxtaposing digital, randomly generated, data-moshing glitch media (derived from her photographs) against artificial intelligence presented readings of powerful texts about the environment. She amalgamates the environmental abstraction of film with the digital abstraction of photographic and literary media.

Her work tests the capabilities for the mind and body to process what is happening. They are intense, immersive and at times overwhelming collections of colours, patterns and words.


Performed Sections:

From Sensing Grounds: Mangroves, Unauthentic Belonging, Extra-Territoriality, E-flux Journal #45, Natasha Ginwala and Vivian Ziherl

“A few Scandinavians, who had already grown acquainted on the North Sea, were friendly and voluble over their long pipes; but among English speakers distance and suspicion reigned supreme. The sun was soon overclouded, the wind freshened and grew sharp as we continued to descend the widening estuary; and with the falling temperature the gloom among the passengers increased.”

R.L. Stevenson, “The Amateur Emigrant”, later part of his collected works Essays of Travel, published in 1905, taking place on board the Devonia from London to New York in August of 1879, scenes from “The Second Cabin”.


“We were cut off from the comprehension of our surroundings. We glided past like phantoms, wondering and secretly appalled, as sane men would be before an enthusiastic outbreak in a madhouse.”

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness


“It always grows out of many roots about the bigness of a man’s ankle, some bigger, some less … Where this sort of tree grows it is impossible to march by reason of these stakes, which grow so mixed one among another that I have, when forced to go through them, gone half a mile and never set my foot on the ground, stepping from root to root.”

English explorer and natural historian William Dampier (1651–1715), regarding the Red Mangrove of the West Indies


“Drawing figures, is figured.
Drawing pulls, pushes, tugs, drags.
Drawing is friction, gravity.
Earth draws, is drawn, draws maps.
Sun draws, draws shadows, photos.
Moon draws tides.”

Roberto Chabet’s exhibition, Lines on Drawing (1999)


“my negritude is neither tower nor cathedral
it takes root in the red flesh of the soil
it takes root in the ardent flesh of the sky
it breaks through opaque prostration with its upright patience.”

Aimé Césaire, Cahier d’un retour au pays natal


From The Paradoxical Object: Video, Film, Sculpture, Joan Truckenbrod

“She was beauty itself and against the cold flow she came, urgent as life, relentless as death. She swam with ghosts and she had no name. She swam, ceaselessly. Endless strength and the grace of pure motion were all that she knew and they propelled her without thought through a turbulent, chaotic realm of underwater noises and overlapping, distant vibrations. Constant hunger and sudden evasion were the only sensations that she had ever felt. She had never been asleep.

In the liquid darkness that surrounded her were sleek, undulating shapes and forms almost identical to her, mirrors in space and time that moved with her, and she with them. Waves of energy pulsing from all the nearby propulsion swept across and through her with a gathering harmony that soothed and excited her in ways she had never sensed and over which she had no control. Galvanized and accelerating, lifted from the unlit depths of the ocean in a rising tide of shimmering silver, she swam toward daylight.”

Ed Gray


For full coverage of Axiom and James S. Watson’s work, courtesy of ArtsDiary: