Andrea Gardner, Artist

This is one of the photographs in our collection. It was made in Whanganui, Whanganui Region, New Zealand in 2020.
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Object Detail

About the Work
In 2021 Andrea Gardner was the third recipient of the Pattillo Project. Her photographic work 'Now I have Your Attention' won the Open Award of the Sarjeant's annual Pattillo Whanganui Arts Review. As well as a monetary prize, the Pattillo Project gives the recipient the opportunity to develop a solo exhibition for the following year with the support of the Gallery's curatorial team.
Gardner's striking winning work featured the artist with a paper bag over the head, perched behind a cardboard box with a small reproduction of a painting by the American miniarturist Sarah Goodridge from 1828. This tiny sel-portrait featuring Goodridge's bare breasts and painted on ivory was sent to the Senator Daniel Webster who, upon his death, had the painting donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.The collision of this tiny and at the time risqué painting with Gardner's self-portrait in a hot pink echo chamber with nothing but a cardboard screen for defence, was one of a group of images that were the genesis of Gardner's exhibition 'This is the Rabbit Hole'.
Gardner's project brings together a dynamic grouping of self-portraits that explore concepts around identity, selfhood, and the psychological tension found in the female experience.
Through staged photography Gardner juxtaposes the familiar with the unexpected and creates what she terms "truthful fictions", the resulting enigmatic images demonstrate a wonderful tension between the playful and absurd, colour and form. In each of the image Gardner has inserted herself into the scene but always in disguise - clothing, wigs, onerous cardboard and paper shapes play a vital role in skewing the view, with the artist's body becoming another shape, a sculptural element. Each image is staged in the studio, with the artist taking time to consider how the scenario might play out.
When talking about the title for the exhibition Gardner cites her process as being akin to going down a rabbit hole "a metaphor for being transported into a wonde3rfully strange or troubling surreal state or situation." Having worked in a variety of media over the years - from found objects to polystyrene meat trays and clay it seems that Gardner has found the almost perfect symbiotic blend of media to create a family of portraits that sit deliberately askew in a world awash with selfies.
- Greg Donson, Curator and Public Programmes Manager. Introductory text for 'Andrea Gardner. This is the Rabbit Hole' exhibition at Sarjeant on the Quay, Whanganui, 19/2/2022 - 8/5/2022
1202 x 722 x 12mm
archival photograph on Hahnemühle Ultrasmooth paper, dibond mounted
Colour photograph showing a red/orange scene at the centre of which is a large green inflated yoga/exercise ball covered in a yellow cloth, making it look like a green eyeball. To the left of the ball is a wooden block standing on end. Behind the ball is a figure dressed in red that almost completely blends into the background. The figure is wearing a long skirt and top, only the torso is shown, no limbs are visible.
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Gift of the artist, 2023
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
21 Feb 2023



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