Alexander Bartleet

New Zealand, b. 1985

“All that glitters is now art”

To recognise the artistic and creative value in various manufactures, objects and even junk takes a creative eye, a special talent.

Up and coming young Auckland artist  Bartleet has this ability in spades .He has turned objects such as old phones, toys, electronic components, bits of wood, metal and plastic into intriguing and stunning artworks. Now his second exhibition of artworks created with found objects, the design and finish of the assembled artworks by the artist is something to behold.

In the words of the artist: "I enjoy identifying hidden qualities of an object. I use thousands of objects to inspire new shapes and textures. I enjoy removing objects from their typical function and appreciating them for their shape and aesthetic qualities."

This year he has experimented with various metallic finishes where the objects appear as cast gold, brass, aluminium, or even rusty blocks or assemblages. Arts critic John Daly-Peoples says "ultimately Bartleet is involved with transformation, turning raw material and simple ideas into something else. He has turned the detritus of life into expressive virtuoso creations of significance."

Although the works appear to be randomly assembled or created, closer scrutiny reveals a painstaking process whereby each item is carefully fixed in place, bestowing the once discarded object a certain immortality not usually given to such short-lived consumer items. Often, the most valuable collectibles of the 20th century ironically are now those which were thrown away due to their low value and proliferation. Baseball cards, advertising material, old toys and other consumables - they are appreciated now for their inherent design features or reflection of social and cultural history. Already viewers wonder at the rapid obsolescence of items Bartleet has incorporated into his artworks such as old cell phones, computer parts, toys, and other items that have not been seen in homes for decades. Bartleet says "discarded objects make us realise how fast we are moving. It brings back memories when you see your old cassette player but is also shocking to realise how fast we move on and forget them."

While the artist has no desire to emulate the famous King Midas, he is making huge strides as an emerging and innovative young New Zealand artist. These objects the artist has re-invented not only stir up some fond (or not so fond) memories but make for fascinating viewing. All that glitters may not necessarily be gold & dash; but in this case, it is most certainly fine art.



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