Moray Gallery

Mike O'Kane: Changing Circumstances

1-11 June 2022

The exhibition’s title reflects Mike O’Kane’s changing attitude to plastic models which represent wars; no longer are they seen as simple ciphers of combat. Perhaps the gods of war are never sated; however, in this room at Moray Gallery, the figurines are not brandishing weapons, and an almost spiritual mood prevails.

The title also references how we can be rearranged by circumstances sometimes beyond our knowing. In the Extended Stay image, the human presence is a wisp of smoke.

O’Kane has found picture frames which suggest times past. Presented here with his images, his works play with notions of the future.

He has sourced plastic figurines as kit sets, and assembled and painted them as appropriate for his works. Those selected for Dardanelles Two Step for example, are also a celebration of the craft of the artisans who made them. O’Kane has used Photoshop, (a highly flexible computer tool) to combine these models with his conventional painting and photography, to create almost surreal sculptural scenes. He has grown to recognise the serendipitous moments that this multi-layered and sometimes lengthy process involves; unexpected additions and erasures are preserved when they delightfully occur, creating outcomes he could not have predicted.

O’Kane has a fine arts degree awarded by Otago Polytechnic School of Art, and he has been exhibiting for many years, including in Canberra in 2018. His works are held by The Eastern Southland Gallery, The Forrester Gallery, and in private collections in New Zealand and Australia.