Venus in Furs
“to take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability; precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”
- Susan Sontag, On Photography, 1977
Niki Hill’s images simultaneously pull you into the perfectly still and dark warmth of their interiors and then, after you have had a moment to adjust to the dark, after closer examination, they startle and disrupt you. Objects that should not be there, such as the skin and fur from animals, mixed up with the fine bone china, destabilize what is an otherwise frozen, perfect vanitas (still life). These tableaux provoke conversations of beauty and the sublime, to the animalistic, the bodily and the flesh... the intricate cycle of life and death.
A kiss and a slap... the beautiful ice tea set is disrupted by real or imagined phallic type shapes peeking out brazenly, viscerally from behind the camellia, this startling juxtaposition, protruding and interrupting the otherwise genteel femme space.
The etymological heritage of the grotesque and the macabre has long been intertwined with the binary of the sublime and the beautiful. “If the ugly is mentioned it is a negative form of the beautiful: either as a lack of beauty in general or as a gap in the beautiful object.” 1 This extends to thinking about the blemishes or defects in the beautiful object, the imperfect and slightly off-balance misforgivings. “Because the ugly is assumed to be everything the beautiful is not, it emerges as a mere tautology.”2 Even when trying to transform or disrupt the empiricist aesthetic, there is still the basic understanding in the heritage of the grotesque, that is, “a shadow form of the beautiful, its silent, invisible partner.”3
- Claire Ulenberg
(excerpt from 'Niki Hill ~ Bizarre High Tea', catalogue, October, 2014)
1. Denise Gigante, Facing the Ugly: The Case of Frankenstein 2. ibid 3. ibid
• Two Artworks purchased by the JamesWallace Arts Trust.
• Single edition of Artist book “ Quasi Collection” purchased by the Elam Library
• Private collections in New Zealand, Australia, Cananda and Germany.
Feb 2015 - Finalist in the New Zealand Painting and Print Award 2015, Waikato Society of Arts. NZPPA Judged by Dr Anne Kirker. Sponsored by the Phillip Vela Family Trust. Part of the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival
Mar 2014 - Finalist in the Estuary Art Awards. Uxbridge Creative Centre. Howick.
Mar 2013 - Finalist in the Estuary Art Awards Finalist. Uxbridge Creative Centre. Howick. Judged by Rob Garrett. Two artworks selected
Aug 2009 - Finalist in The Wallace Art Awards. (Artwork purchased by the Wallace Art Trust).
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
Feb 2015 - BIZARRE HIGH TEA. Pierre Peeters Gallery /Vero Centre
Oct 2013 - Quasi Fantasy - Exhibition at Northart
Feb 2013 - Quasi Collection Exhibition - Birkdale Intermediate School. Art Gallery.
Aug 2009 - “Quasi Collection” Photography. Ferners Gallery Salon
June 2008 - Sublime Moments - Still Life Photography. Northart.
Selected Group Exhibitions:
Oct - INTO THE MYSTIC. Pierre Peeters Gallery Parnell. Auckland
Sept - MATERIALISM. presented by BlikFang
Mar - IMPROMPTU. Pierre Peeters Gallery Parnell
Mar - Estuary Art Awards Finalist. Uxbridge Creative Centre. Judged by Rob Garrett. Two artworks selected
Sept - 6 Women Artists. Group exhibition. Northart.
Mar - Oh La La Exhibition - Uxbridge Gallery Howick
Nov - Elam Graduates Show. Elam Open Days 2008.
Interviews and Articles
Mar 2015 • ART NEW ZEALAND Number 153/Autumn 2015
Article by Amy Stewart. Curiouser and Curiouser. Pg 72- 75
Aug 2009 • Interview with Mikey Havoc 95bfm http://www.95bfm.com/default,192368.sm
Aug 2009 • Good Morning Show TV interview - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhoNuhDabYo
Artist’s Talks and Events
Mar 2015 • Artist talk - BIZARRE HIGH TEA. March 4th. 3.30pm. Pierre Peeters Gallery/Vero Centre
Sept 2014 • Artist talk - MATERIALISM. Talking to “Quasi Fantasy” Arts Event at BlikFang. 5.30pm. 4th Sep
April 2014 • Chelsea Sugar Art Trail in association with the Rotary Birkenhead. Open Studio - 10am - 4pm. 5th April
2011 - 2012 • Establishment of Studio space at Island Bay Beach Haven. Auckland