Full House: Exhibition Text

Erin Lee explores Full House, an artist-run exhibition staged in a home commissioned by artist Milan Mrkusich and designed by Aotearoa/New Zealand architect Claude Megson.

Date 3 May 2021 WORDS Erin Lee Photography Sam Hartnett

Full House. Installation view, Tāmaki Makaurau, May 2021.

Full House is an artist-initiated exhibition featuring work that plays with the textures and forms of domestic ritual and routine. Staged in a home commissioned by Milan Mrkusich and designed by architect Claude Megson, twenty-four emerging and established artists create a dialogue about the materiality and structures of domesticity.

Megson is often spoken about as an architect whose contributions have been forgotten by history. Remembered as somewhat abrasive and arrogant, Megson, a disciple of the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was known to refer to himself as ‘Frank Claude Wright.’ His ambitious philosophy of creating individual spaces for rituals and occasions is often overshadowed by another feature he shares with Wright—flat roofs that leak. 

While the house features Megson’s signature individual rooms, the adjoining compartments are constantly present in the periphery. The antithesis of open plan living, views of the house are carefully framed in slivers. As you move around, the spaces take turns being hidden and seen. Nestled in Megson’s labyrinth, discovering each artwork requires exploration. Vigilance is rewarded as changing positions provides new views and connections between works displayed in different spaces. 

Full House was organised by artists Alexander Bartleet and Matt Arbuckle as a fluid and casual space to exhibit. Using Alex’s home as an exhibition space, this project takes its cues from the stairwell and house shows of the late Australian artist John Nixon. Working in the studio next to Nixon, Matt experienced these exhibitions that brought together emerging and established artists as part of the wider community building and mentorship Nixon was known for. By conceiving the audience of Full House as a community of peers and friends, the self-consciousness of showing in a gallery gives way to playfulness, humour, and ease in collaboration.

Virginia Leonard, Infections, 2021, clay, lustre, resin, tape, eiderdown, oil paint, 760 x 630 mm. Courtesy of the artist and Gow Langsford.

(L–R) Basil Papoutsidis, Untitled (Bent Chassis #1), 2021, edition 2/2, aluminium, enamel, 835 x 1180 x 670 mm. Courtesy of the artist. 
Oliver King, Pink Undies #2/Pink Undies #3, 2017, edition 2/3, digital print on ACM, 340 x 390 mm. Courtesy of the artist and Scott Lawrie Gallery.
Cat Fooks, Mr & Mrs Fantastic, 2021, 535 x 465 x 365 mm. Courtesy of the artist and Anna Miles Gallery.

James Ross, Yellow Book (corner), 2008, oil on plywood, 340 x 275 mm. Courtesy of the artist.

(L–R) Ryder Jones, A picture of lightning, 2021, 470 x 22 x 160 mm.
Emma Fitts, Protection for the Harvest, 2020, vinyl paint and dyed felted rope on canvas, 1320 x 915 mm/ Courtesy of the artist, Parlous Projects and Melanie Roger Gallery. 

(L–R) Matt Arbuckle, All the more afraid, 2021, 8 panel double-sided screen, 1800 mm height, variable concertina. Courtesy of the artist and Two Rooms Gallery.
Alexander Bartleet, Built to Scale, 2021, mixed media on wire, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.
Peter Lange, Brick Trip Rug, 2020, fibreglass, mosaic (broken and full tiles), 170 x 1140 x 610 mm. Courtesy of the artist.

(L–R) John Nixon, Cerial boxes and photographic test strip, 2018, framed paper collage, 420 x 320 mm. Courtesy of Two Rooms and the estate of John Nixon.
Gabriel Gentner, Rising dampness II/Seven feet floodwaters/Leaks and code violations, 2021, woodfired soda and ash glazed stoneware, dimensions variable.

Heidi Brickell, Prolifery Fold: Pōkai Whenua, Leibniz & Frida Kahlo, 2019, cotton duck, string and acrylic, 950 x 1090 mm. Courtesy of the artist.

Cat Fooks, Claypool Hill, 2021, 1350 x 360 x 320 mm. Courtesy of the artist and Anna Miles Gallery.

(L–R) Benjamin Prabowo Sexton, Sheets, 2021, edition 1/3, silver gelatine print, 180 x 220 mm. Courtesy of the artist and Daine Singer Gallery.
Selina Woulfe, Bloodline Rituals I (dark grey comb piece), 2014, oxidised sterling silver, 250 x 75 x 52 mm/Bloodline Rituals II (gold/grey tablet piece), 2014, oxidised sterling silver, 295 x 75 x 52 mm. Courtesy of the artist and Masterworks.

Full House. Installation view, Tāmaki Makaurau, May 2021.

Garth Steeper, Wave study, 2020, oil on board, 305 x 410 mm. Courtesy of the artist.

Peter Lange, Brick Trip Rug, 2020, fibreglass, mosaic (broken and full tiles), 170 x 1140 x 610 mm. Courtesy of the artist.

Madeline Simm, The grass is blue, 2021, found fabric, cotton and wool thread, 220 x 270 mm. Courtesy of the artist.

(L–R) Ryder Jones, Sling Ray, 2020, 660 x 640 x 640 mm. Courtesy of the artist.
Peter Lange, Dolphin Trip Rug, 2020, fibreglass, mosaic (broken and full tiles), 135 x 1400 x 610 mm. Courtesy of the artist.
Heidi Brickell, Prolifery Fold: Pōkai Whenua, Leibniz & Frida Kahlo, 2019, cotton duck, string and acrylic, 950 x 1090 mm. Courtesy of the artist.
Matt Arbuckle, All the more afraid, 2021, 8 panel double-sided screen, 1800 mm height, variable concertina. Courtesy of the artist and Two Rooms Gallery.

Alexander Bartleet, Built to Scale, 2021, mixed media on wire, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Wendelien Bakker, Sweeping Waves, 2012, 5:15 min film. Courtesy of the artist.

(L–R) Matt Arbuckle, All the more afraid, 2021, 8 panel double-sided screen, 1800 mm height, variable concertina. Courtesy of the artist and Two Rooms Gallery.
Gretchen Albrecht, Morning breaks, 2020, oil on copper, 175 x 350 mm. Courtesy of the artist.
Virginia Leonard, Infections, 2021, clay, lustre, resin, tape, eiderdown, oil paint, 760 x 630 mm. Courtesy of the artist and Gow Langsford.
Ryder Jones, Sling Ray, 2020, 660 x 640 x 640 mm. Courtesy of the artist.

John Nixon, Yellow and Black Cross, 1989, enamel on metal, 370 x 370 mm. Courtesy of Two Rooms and the estate of John Nixon.

Travis MacDonald, The relocation process, 2020, oil glue size and cotton on shaped wood, 145 x 170 mm. Courtesy of the artist and Niagra Gallery. 

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