Like the “Dear John” letters of old, Johns’ project heralds bad news and grim times ahead. Indeed, whether respected as a matter for foreign policy and diplomacy to resolve, or as one that recommends direct action and intervention whenever possible, the issue of whaling in contemporary times stirs the blood in more ways than one.
Offering a formal platform for the presentation of art works that extend and endorse the work and perspectives of New Zealand artists, Paul Johns has commandeered The Physics Room’s mission and mandate in the service of a timely consciousness-raising exercise.
Within the gallery Johns has collated a formal arrangement of material motivated by the continued harvesting of whales for ‘scientific’ purposes. Some elements of the exhibition are available for sale, with all proceeds raised from these composite parts going directly to Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd. Additionally, over the next three weeks series of posters produced by Johns will hit the streets spreading his concerns beyond the gallery walls and inviting people to take a renewed stand, in whatever form that might be most significant for them.
Dear Paul… is an open hearted gesture, the outcome of which is unknown. It is a polite cry, a wake up call and potentially a call to arms.
Paul Johns lives and works in Christchurch. Recent solo exhibitions include: All is well, 64zero3, Christchurch (2008); Paul Johns, 64zero3, Christchurch (2006); la femme, The Kiosk, Christchurch (2006); A Perfect Childhood, McNamara Gallery, Wanganui and Campbell Grant Galleries, Christchurch (2004); Noughts, crosses or tiddlywinks, Blue Oyster Gallery, Dunedin and High Street Project, Christchurch (2004); Yes it is a painting, rm 401, Auckland (2001) and This lifeless box may be full of energy, The Physics Room, Christchurch (2001).
In 2005 Johns was awarded the Tylee Cottage Residency in Wanganui in and selected group exhibitions he has participated in include: SCAPE Biennial, Christchurch (2008); Spaghetti Junction, 64zero3, Christchurch (2008); HOT, 64zero3, Christchurch (2007); Ficciones, 64zero3, Christchurch (2007); Telecom Prospect, Wellington (2004); Mr and Mrs Pink's Fabulous Collection, Blue Oyster Gallery, Dunedin and The High Street Project, Christchurch (2004); Dimensions of, High Street Project, Christchurch (2003) and Reaching Out: Calling New Age Power, Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington; High Street Project, Christchurch and Mori Gallery Sydney (2003).