Tira Walsh presents a series of nine huge paintings originally commissioned by Te Tuhi, Auckland for Ata koia! curated by James Tapsell-Kururangi earlier in 2022. The curatorial premise of Ata koia! was based on a kīwaha – an expression – inspiring an ambience of wonder and surprise. Titled Black Out Days, the series does just that, transforming the space into one of drama and spectacle as the nine paintings occupy one long wall, operating as an architectural mural. Black Out Days refers to both the hues of the paintings and her time as an artist in residence, responding to the pitch black nights in remote Karekare.
Walsh employs an intuitive visual language that references urban graffiti and stencilling, and the element of chance. She transmutes the excesses of physical sensation and treats each canvas as “a silent negotiation with the materials, creating a tension between control and risk.” Walsh manipulates marks on the large scale painted surfaces, making decisions as she goes, both editing and layering, capitalising on the things that work and eliminating what doesn’t.
Presented alongside these paintings is a poem by Liam Jacobson, specifically written in response to Walsh’s magnificent series.