After starting Fletcher Systems I found myself designing more challenging pieces. From furniture design, sculpture has been a natural progression and I can now explore and realise those ideas I'd been storing in the cupboard.
All images copyright © 2014
The sphere is an ancient symbol for the infinite and eternal universe. Gold is a source of beauty, incorruptibility and riches since time immemorial. Even the word “gold” has a wonderful spherical roundness in the mouth when spoken, echoed in the smooth metallic curve of the sculpture.
Imagine this grand philosophical monument nestled in the rugged hills like an extra-terrestrial interloper from a distant star cluster; a giant golden soap bubble reflecting those same hills imbues with its own rich, warm lustre, allowing it to become part of the landscape. All in one and one in all.
Goldsphere is site specific. It playfully alludes to the Michael Hill jewellery empire and to the gold mining and prospecting history of the Arrowtown area. The shape also suggests a golf ball, tying the sculpture to the purpose of the golf course itself.
Visible from a distance, Goldsphere offers an enigmatic and alluring accent to the surrounding vista. Imagine it setting off by the clear, bright winter light and fabulous autumn foliage Arrowtown is famous for. Up close it is a shining, minimalist reminder that there are more things in heaven and earth than dreamed of in our philosophy.
GoldSphere can be produced by Global Stainless in Taranaki, they produce work for Anish Kapoor. The sphere would be made in 6mm thick high grade 316 stainless, then polished to gold mirror finish.
Kinetic Pillar is an ever changing celebration of movement that echoes the work of American modernist sculptors George Rickey and Alexander Calder, and contemporary New Zealand artist Phil Price. Its restless mutability and gentle rhythms will mesmerise guests. It dances with the moves of a Tai Chi master or a Capoeira fighter.
One minute Kinetic Pillar is mysterious black monolith suggestive of the Stanley Kubrick 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. As the wind picks up its articulated limbs disengage to gracefully describe swinging balletic arcs in the air through its axes of motion. Next minute it is a stylised and alien tree, an abstract constellation of choreographed black squares like a flock of startled birds, or a prophet with arms outstretched to welcome the sky. That which appeared a solid and unyielding form is in fact in constant flux, as contemporary and variable as the Central Otago winds which power it.
The metamorphoses of Kinetic Pillar are commanded by the weather, binding the sleekly industrial sculpture to the local environment and the prevailing elements, capturingthe expressive and aesthetic immanence where material form, light and action in space intersect. It is movement rather than shape which is paramount.
The sculptural installation Birds in Paradise is a play on "Birdie", the term for scoring 1-under par on a hole, reflecting the The Hills’ function as a golf course and giving the structure specifity to place.
The formal components of the art work resemble highly stylised versions of birds in three pivoted sections at varying heights standing in a water hazard or pond. This alludes to New Zealand’s internationally celebrated native bird life and environmental beauty.
Starting from an upright vertical position, any breeze causes the birds to slowly animate, twist and bow with a serene, almost Japanese elegance. The stronger the breeze, the more cheeky character and energetic personality the birds adopt.
Depending on the posture of the birds in motion, the effect varies from smaller birds gossiping on perches to a family of tall and elegant wading birds. The sophisticated aesthetic is complemented by the reflective properties of the water they are installed in.
The effect is harmonious with the natural landscape and plantings, cultivating a pleasant atmosphere of peace and tranquillity among guests and form an attractive conversation piece. In a densely-planted setting they provide an unexpected and delightful surprise for a visitor to happen upon.
On awaking he found the world still motionless and numb. The drop of water still clung to his cheek; the shadow of the bee still did not shift in the courtyard; the smoke from the cigarette he had thrown down did not blow away. In famous Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges’ 1943 story “The Secret Miracle”, a playwright sentenced to death prays for the time to finish his final masterpiece. His wish is granted at the last minute, and as the bullet rushes towards him from the firing squad’s guns, time freezes for the year it takes to complete the play.
Window Clash recreates the wonder of time’s flow stopped in its tracks. A perfectly ordinary-looking classic bentwood chair seems paused in mid-air, as if it had been thrown. Time is suspended along with our disbelief. On closer inspection it appears to be magically passing through a glass wall as if it wasn’t there. The chair has been cut into two sections with each half fixed seamlessly to either side of the glass using silicone glue or magnets so as not to damage the glass. Window Clash is a conversational piece that surprises and delights guests with its unexpectedness and subtle simplicity.
Stratospheric is somewhat surreal with its gravity defying ascent of orbs. Each one is composed of layers or strata of opaque, white Corian that are set with ‘spacers’ of translucent Perspex. The angles at which the spheres are piled on top of each other create a precarious tension and an element of wonder. This is enhanced particularly at night as the luminous orbs are lit up internally becoming circles of glowing light.
LED lighting has been set within each sphere of Stratospheric. Both the Corian and Perspex are materials that have light-conducting properties, with the Perspex emitting the most light, hence the stratified impression when lit. Corian is a man-made marble used mostly for industrial products, it is a material that Fletcher Vaughan has used frequently in his work as a designer.
The central focus of Vaughan’s artistic output has been designing one-off pieces of furniture and three dimensional art works. He undercuts any industrial associations of his material through the element of design and the influence of digital culture.
The glowing orbs touch on cellular life – with a specific reference to the Blastocyte which is a cluster of sticky cells which cling together as they replicate. The artist intends a reference to the transience of life, procreation, life and death. Transience is also suggested by the way that this work seems to bounce across the landscape – as if it will roll away and be lost to view. The mix of the serious and the light hearted is characteristic of Vaughan’s work. There is an echo of Roman statuary in the material, the pristine and opaque marble like Corian? It is a mixture of novelty, the cerebral and the monumental
Dr Robin Woodward
Thanks to sponsor support:
Creative New Zealand, DuPont Corian By The Laminex Group, Greenmount Manufacturing, Kenderdine Lighting, Zetec - Paul Zwaan, PSP Plastics, David White, Photography - Shaun Pettigrew
The second half of the twentieth century was a wild party – gas-guzzling cars, cheap energy and vast personal wealth from booming industry. But now we are waking up to a nasty hangover and facing the consequences of last night’s excess. Collapse represents the precarious balancing act we are performing with our planet. “We’ve been building layers upon layers and each new layer only makes the collapse more likely. Now we’ve reached a point where the house of cards can’t go any higher.”
The sculpture’s site is directly exposed to the forces of nature, elements that are becoming more unpredictable and extreme due to climate change and global warming. Although firmly fixed, the illusion that Collapse could be toppled at any moment by a breath of wind represents the fragility of our planet and its inhabitants in the present day.
Fletcher Vaughan is of Fijian, Tahitian and New Zealand descent, his Tahitian blood coming from his ancestor and namesake, the Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian. Vaughan is a multi-disciplined designer based in Auckland. After several years building sets and props for film and television, he established Fletcher Systems in 1999, specialising in commercial furniture and product design. Vaughan exhibited Ship of Fools at headland SCULPTURE ON THE GULF 2009.
Supporters: Rebecca Wells, Paul Zwaan at Zetec, Tony at Barracuda Engineering. BIG thanks to the team at Supply.
Thanks to Te Huruhi 12B Block Trust.