The Big Blue: Group Exhibition

1 December 2018 - 15 January 2019 Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga

Lucas Grogan | Mark Cross | Mahiriki Tangaroa | Andy Leleisi'uao | Reuben Paterson


The Big Blue, a group exhibition at Bergman Gallery, captures what blue can be, the ever present hue and its many faces.


"The concept for the show came from Andy Leleisi'uao's Harmonic Island five panel work which is predominantly blue. I was very taken with the colour and it occurred to me that I could find other blue works to show around it - The Big Blue.  I had two beautiful blue works by Reuben Paterson including Far / Nearer that hadn't been seen in an exhibition before,"  said Gallery Director Ben Bergman. "I asked Mahiriki Tangaroa to participate with a blue work, not her usual colour. Then Lucas Grogan dropped into my headspace as he works in predominately blue/white. And Mark Cross's blue work, Approaching Cyan, has always been a favourite."


Mahiriki Tangaroa created her work specifically for this show, adding soft blues to her distinctive style. Cross's work dates back to 2008, an indication of his long relationship with the gallery including recent work in the exhibition MPA1. Then there is the work of Lucas Grogan, new to the Cook Islands and Bergman Gallery but not to the contemporary art world. "I met Lucas at Sydney Contemporary two years ago," says Bergman. "I first saw his work there, and was immediately taken with his audacity, wit and unapologetic approach. " Bergman reached out to the artist and Grogan's work, Good Luck With That, became a part of The Big Blue.


"I'm a big fan of Andy Leleisi'uao so I of course said yes," says Grogan. "I've never been part of a show like this, so I'm stoked. I am really humbled to be included amongst such brilliant South Pacific artists." Grogan's inclusion in The Big Blue seems obvious when you encounter the predominance of blue in his work. Good Luck With That, combines shades of blue with white and black, hypnotic lines and patterns with a central blue rose, the artists favourite motif at the moment. 


"I had been distilling this idea of combining my quilting practice into my canvas work using acrylics and enamels to simulate the illusion of fabric," says Grogan. "Also structuring the work to mimic a religious-like alter which would eventually hold some relic or message." "I write and read a lot of poetry, and when I do use text in my work I labour over what exactly to put in. They operate as micro poems of uncertain intent and tone. Good Luck With That can be read as though I'm saying this to the viewer, or the viewer is saying this to me. It could be either facetious or optimistic - almost a little prayer and/or a curse."