Inspired by the value we ascribe to the objects that surround else in daily life. Deadweight Loss explores contemporary making at a moment when ideologies of craft, the bespoke and the handmade have returned to consumer popularity.
An obscure economic term, deadweight loss refers to the point in the ‘law’ of supply and demand where an equilibrium between goods in the market and buyers cannot be met, resulting in a market imbalance. Three artistic approaches by makers, Moniek Schrijer, Laurie Steer and Cat Fooks highlight the object’s power to express or diminish value - be it as markers of good or bad taste, prestige or overt sentimentality.
Full of abrasive colour and blinging materiality. Junk materials are repurposed new, outdated technologies find a second wind, and garish signs of opulence and wealth are discovered in surprising places. Deadweight Loss is installed within an exhibition design by architect Micheal McCabe, conceived itself of defunct exhibition furniture long since abandoned to time, and imposing on Schrijer, Steer and Fooks the exhibition’s own stylistic conventions.
Summoning gall, effrontery and guts on a regular basis is not straightforward. Cat Fooks’ time in the studio is about “courting the out-of-control.” Early on she tuned into reconstitution as a means of searching; repeatedly pillaging, cropping and reapplying elements of her previous output and incorporating studio accoutrements such as frames, stretcher wedges, and paintbrushes. Somehow, in a ballroom-scale basement in Onehunga, Fooks’ paintings acquire audacity during an arduous mode of production. Cat Fooks was born in Hamilton in 1976 and completed a Bachelor of Visual Communications, majoring in Painting, at Unitec, in 1999. Seventeen years later, her first solo exhibition, Pleasant St, was held at Anna Miles Gallery.
Laurie Steer is a potter based in Mount Maunganui. He trained under the late Barry Brickell, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated ceramic artists.
Steer’s work questions and experiments with ceramics production and tradition. While maintaining strong links to ancient pottery techniques and aesthetics his vessels often sprout strange protuberances or spikes, assuming fantastical forms suspended somewhere between fine art ceramics and craft pottery. Steer’s work has been exhibited throughout New Zealand and Australia, and he produces an ever changing line of extraordinarily popular pseudo domestic ware.
Steer holds a Masters of Art & Design from Auckland University of Technology and is also a Director of the Driving Creek Arts and Conservation Trust.
Moniek Schrijer is a contemporary jewellery artist from Te Whanganui-a-Tara who holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts (2012) and a Post-Graduate Diploma from Whitireia New Zealand’s Facility of Art (2013). Since graduating, Schrijer has developed a strong exhibition history and her work has been a part of significant national and international exhibitions.
Recently Schrijer's work was included in the ground-breaking exhibition Non-Stick Nostalgia at the Museum of Art and Design in New York (2019) curated by Kellie Riggs and the major national contemporary art survey Sympathetic Resonance at The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson (2019) curated by Sarah McClintock.
Schrijer’s practice is characterised by the skilful adaptation and alteration of materials collected largely from second hand and recycled sources using a variety of traditional and unconventional jewellery techniques that allow for her pieces to move between the jewel and the object, the flat plane and the third dimension. Her work is distinct and ingenious, weaving together wry humour, critical reflexivity and technical originality.
In 2016 Schrijer was awarded a prestigious Herbert Hofmann Preis during Schmuck in München for her piece ‘tablet of’ and was Asia NZ Foundation/Wellington City Council artist in residence in Xiamen, China (2017). Her work is held in significant private and public collections in New Zealand and abroad.
Micheal Michael McCabe is an interdisciplinary designer based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. He has worked with art galleries (Objectspace, Window Gallery, The Dowse), theatre companies (Auckland Theatre Company, Silo Theatre, Actors Program, Massive Theatre Company, PAT ) and public art organisations (Auckland Artweek, Satellites).