Owen Connors, The Fortune Teller, 2022

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Owen Connors
The Fortune Teller, 2022
egg tempera on birch, soap stained Macrocarpa
470 x 470mm framed

Owen Connors’ works are painted with egg tempera on birch board, a medium used for centuries, with particular prominence in the Renaissance. In the present egg tempera seems anachronistic, yet at the same time Connors’ works glow with a kind of raw newness.

The Fortune Teller knowingly nods towards the nihilistic and entangled ambitions of labour and fate. A blistered palm is offered up for reading. The placement of the blisters on the mount of Venus (love) and the mount of Luna (intuition and imagination)–as well as the thumb and middle finger (willpower and goals respectively)–invite the viewer to play at intuiting the future. The hand-joined frames are carved by the artist in macrocarpa, the timber of a farm shelterbelt. The carvings’ style remembers the wood- engravings of queer artist Leo Bensemann, who lived in Christchurch in the 1930s, just down the road from The Physics Room’s current site.

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Owen Connors is based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Past exhibitions include your cart and plow over the bones of the dead, Robert Heald Gallery, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, 2022; Incubations, Robert Heald Gallery, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, 2021; For Future Breeders, Parasite, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2021; DUIRVIUS (with Laura Duffy), Blue Oyster Project Space, Ōtepoti, 2020; and SISSYMANCY!, play_station, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, 2019.

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Photos by Janneth Gil.