Uptown Art Scene

Objectspace is a great, local public gallery dedicated to craft, design and architecture.

Objectspace is a great, local public gallery dedicated to craft, design and architecture.

Last year, Objectspace moved a short distance from the top of Ponsonby Road to fantastic new premises at 13 Rose Road. Currently on display is a full-size Toyota Corolla made out of wood and paint - a crazy mix of model, soapbox derby entry and painstaking replication. The artist is Dr Glen Hayward, who makes painted carvings of everyday objects, such as banana boxes, nails, security cameras and skulls. There’s a cow’s skull here, wedged in the passenger foot well of the Toyota, looking very real yet carved from wood and painted.

The Toyota Corolla is a ubiquitous vehicle - we probably all have a memory of one. Hayward’s version is based on an abandoned wreck in a Whanganui paddock, which he used to play in as a child. Unlike his previous sculptures, it is only the interior of the car that is meticulously modelled to fool us of its (un)reality; the exterior is made with plywood signs salvaged from the renovation of his new Whanganui studio. Inside the car, we are led into a child’s view of the worn-out vehicle, with detritus littering the interior: cigarette butts, bottle tops, a cassette tape, all carved and painted to look just like the originals. The seats and dash are weathered, and the car is up on cinder blocks, also sculpted from wood and paint.

The work is called Dendrochronology, which is the study of data from tree ring growth. Hayward works exclusively in wood (and paint), spending an incredible amount of time on each piece. He measures this time not in hours or days, but in how many sacks of sawdust he produces. When I visited his studio back in July, he was up to sack number four, and he still had a way to go...

The work was completed and shown at Sydney Contemporary in September, and afterwards was shown at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, before coming to Ponsonby. That’s quite a few kilometres on this Corolla’s clock.