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Gallery Talk

He just wanted my washing machine

24 June · Katrina
He just wanted my washing machine
'Don't lose heart' Mixed Media

Thank you to those hardy souls who braved rain, wind, tumbling temperatures and the promise of further snow to attend the very successful opening of ‘He just wanted my washing machine’.

In this series of small, mixed media works Christchurch artist Katrina Lilly takes a wry look at that most quotidian of quick fixes – the everpresent and oh-so-affordable proffering of confectionary and chocolate (consider, for example, Cadbury’s promise of ‘Joyville’ and Snickers ‘really satisfies’ slogan) as an over-the-counter antidote to the natural emotions of hurt, fear, rejection, shame, guilt and unworthiness that result from the equally clichéd ‘broken heart’.

Comprising paint, resin, collage and a supply of chocolate wrappers, the works align the saccharine associations of Valentine’s Day imagery with the visceral outcomes of crushed wrappers, blocked emotions and stuffed arteries. Appropriately small in scale, they contrast the slick spin of glossy advertising and Mills and Boon romance with the reality of thwarted catharsis and physical stress implicit in the broken surfaces, clogged edges and blood-red palette.

“I’m interested in how advertising hones in on our vulnerable moments and offers its products as a fix to our emotive state,” Lilly explains. “No one wants to feel bad for long and if we can’t get our serotonin kick from love then why not replace it with a sweet alternative, even if it can also break your heart – permanently?”

Katrina Lilly graduated from the University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts in 2004. After six years’ travelling and working as a photographer around the world she returned to New Zealand in 2011.

‘He just wanted my washing machine’ is on display at City Art until 12 July.

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