Francis McWhannell Writer and exhibition-maker

TagLGBTQIA+

A moment of optimism

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These communities were also coming to terms with the fact that they were no longer a reviled minority and realised that, if they wished to keep an identity that had been created through legal and social oppression over the course of two centuries, they needed to work to maintain their unique culture and to remember its long history.[1] —David Herkt, 2013 Is this feeling optimism? It is certainly...

No other way

On Paul Johns’ BEEN HERE LONG?

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Interesting what your parents say to you at the end. I said to my mother, ‘I’m probably not the type of son that you would have aspired to have,’ to which she replied, ‘I wouldn’t have wanted you any other way.’ —Paul Johns, 2021 BEEN HERE LONG? is the first solo exhibition by Paul Johns to be held in Tāmaki Makaurau in two decades. It represents a compact survey, spanning almost his entire...

In and between

On Luca Nicholas’sTriple Axel

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Triple Axel is Luca Nicholas’s first solo exhibition and the culmination of his study at Auckland University of Technology, where he recently completed his Master of Visual Arts degree. The print-based works on show are the product of experimentation with diverse processes and concepts, as Nicholas has attempted to develop a mode of making that explores queer experiences with ‘pathos, humour, and...

What looms large

On Daegan Wells’ Bush coat

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It’s not about making the best thing, it’s about that process of learning, of having a conversation with someone who knows what they’re doing.[1] —Daegan Wells Truth be told, I do not know what a bush coat is. I picture something akin to a Swanndri. Heavy cloth, with squares of saturated colour neat as pastureland seen from the sky. The sort of jacket that I imagine might be worn by a character...

Refining abundance

Considering Queer Algorithms

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I recline on pieces of a knobbly kind of foam I think is used to soften ambient noise in recording studios. Beneath me is an expanse of printed water, doubled like a Rorschach blot. It flies up at my feet, begins to curl, and dissolves into a sheet of balloons, evocative of both sea spume and an end-of-night balloon drop in a club. A few of the globes are puckering. It’s May, and the party has...

Coming out in practice

Considering Shannon Novak’s Sub Rosa

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In 1995 I lost my virginity in the New Plymouth Public Library toilets whilst waiting for my shift to start at PAK’nSAVE. It was an unplanned event that unfolded like a slow dance. We never said a word to each other; it was all eye contact. It was during a time I had no other means of meeting men in New Plymouth. I somehow felt and knew that the library was where I was supposed to be, where it...

A gentle communion

Considering Sleeping Arrangements

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I sit in the gloomy, almost oppressive environment of the Blumhardt Gallery at the Dowse Art Museum, in which a small but dazzling piece of curatorial handiwork is on display. Beneath me is a bench covered in pale-green vinyl, patterned with spots that are rough to the touch. The surface feels non-slip. It would not be amiss on the floor of a bathroom. I quickly think of urinals and just as...

Francis McWhannell Writer and exhibition-maker

About

Francis McWhannell (b. 1985, Aotearoa New Zealand) is a writer and exhibition-maker based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. He is Curatorial Adviser for the dealer gallery Visions, and Curator of the Fletcher Trust Collection, a major private collection of Aotearoa art founded in 1962.