17 Apr Collection Focus: Together – Yvonne Todd
This series looks closer at some lesser known works in the Sarjeant’s collection. Assistant Curator James Hope discusses a poster work by Yvonne Todd.
Self-isolation can mean an ambivalent over-identification with our domestic surroundings. Spend a little too long indoors and it can turn overwhelming; the agoraphobic, shut-in and incapacitated become kindred spirits. The stuffy cloud of amateur opinion broadcast on all social platforms tails the news cycle twenty-four hours a day like a lost puppy chasing cats on the empty streets of suburbia.
Yvonne Todd’s work has been described as “Suburban Gothic”. Her photographs stage the faded glamour of the stars of daytime television’s heyday, as well as artificial landscapes empty of habitation, the infirm, the sober somber religious and the compulsive ̵ stricken characters and environs that invoke a cautious pathos.
Together resembles a page out of a glossy magazine ˗ a type of media that faces an uncertain future in New Zealand after the German-owned company Bauer Media, publisher of The Listener and Woman’s Weekly among others, announced that they are ceasing their operations here. The two young women pose stiffly against a background of foliage, both dressed in long pink dresses and mirrored sunglasses ˗ slightly aberant-looking characters like Ingham twins made good. A tantalising quotation in the top left corner obscures the standing woman’s face, nullifying any gravitas through careless graphic design. What have these two women experienced in order to have to rebuild their lives?