Tom’s new exhibition is comprised of Superbird works, the War & Famine Series, and two Bushfire paintings. The common thread weaving through the show (as has always been Tom’s primary art focus) is the statement of Ecology – “a branch of science dealing with living organisms in relation to their surroundings”.
The War & Famine Series, by way of symbolism and allegory, depicts the human imposition on the earth and nature; more specifically the effect that War has on individuals, the masses, and the animals.
The Carbon Footprint of War and the Pollution of Religion 2007 “This painting is divided diagonally; abundance on one side; hell on the other. Dr Death and Mr Bomb hold the right side of the work. They represent the end (the pits of hell). War, famine, fire, destruction. Dr Death has a Biafran – a product of his atrocities – sitting on his shoulder. The poor child is looking into the land of abundance, dreaming of nothing more than food. The land of abundance holds the Virgin Mary and the Christ child. She looks across to Dr Death, knowing her child is for the Cross. The Christ child looks down towards the sacrament, symbolised by a wafer and wine, asking “is this what they will make of me – body and blood,” while the Biafran looks longingly across at the sustenance for a more worldly reason – survival.
The crown of thorns holds the middle of the picture. It talks of the future pain of humanity; suffering that will occur as Hell proceeds unchecked. Mr Bomb carries out Dr Death’s decrees, who, believing he is guided by the Will of God, calls for the destruction of abundance and with it the spiritual world of hope, faith and charity. There has been a blast from one of Mr Bomb’s holocausts which has exploded and calcified, like dying coral, encasing Dr Death. Everything is wasted. I think it is plain that Dr Death is a skull in a suit; the suit represents a capitalist system of disaster – hell, destruction, exhausting the land of abundance which fights back through a statue in stone. Its statement is clear – set in stone – inflexible and doomed to be devoured. The land of Abundance is no longer in our hands. Mr Bomb has Dr Death proceeding forward.” Tom Mutch, May 2008
The Bushfire paintings represent the plight of animals in disasters – natural, or man-made. Oft-times they come to rely on humans for protection, and oft-times humans are the cause of the fires from which they need protection.
“Human egocentricity make body-counts of every skirmish or tragedy; so many combatants, so many in collateral damage, etc. Yet take no account of the death toll of animals and wild-life; how many donkeys, monkeys, bees, butterflies, etc are lost daily? It is as if we see them surplus to our needs, whereas in fact, all creatures are in symbiotic relationships with the earth and our well-being. These creatures should also be counted and described in the annals of war and held as the cost to the Carbon Footprint.” Tom Mutch, Nov 2007
The Superbird Works, having been in Mutch’s psyche for over ten years, are a call for AWARENESS. Being aware that our every action has impact on the Earth and Nature, surely, is the key to the Solution.
“Superbird is a champion for Nature. Sick and tired of flying through skies choked with poisonous industrial fumes, Superbird comes down to Earth to walk like a human, so as to stride the planet campaigning for the creatures humans have forgotten.
Through wastelands littered with the industrial detritus of bulldozers and B52s, Superbird journeys, unable to comprehend an upside down world of ecological choices. He asks us to listen with our hearts, to acknowledge the rights of creatures other than ourselves, to listen to the conversations of the trees and birds, the wind and the rain; to listen to a language we find convenient to ignore. A language we have covered over with noise and distractions.
Stop, listen! Hear the sound of chaos around you. Hear the sound of cash registers ringing so loudly. Stop, listen! Are you not sick of your own jack-hammer orchestra smashing the earth’s peace?
Superbird sings his own song – a song of seeds and eggs, trees and grass. Stop, listen to the Universe. It’s a much sweeter sound. Superbird pleads for humans to find a harmony fully in tune. A harmony that heals.”
– Tom Mutch 2004
2009 Jackman Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
2004 Birds Nest Studio, Kuaotunu, Whitianga, NZ
2003 Warwick Henderson gallery, Auckland, NZ
2002 Warwick Henderson gallery, Auckland, NZ
2001 Spiral Art Gallery, Auckland, NZ
2001 Pacific Artspace, Melbourne, Australia
2001 Upstairs Gallery, Whitianga, NZ
2000 Walrus Gallery, Wellington, NZ
1999 Walrus Gallery, Wellington, NZ
1999 Taylor Jensen Fine Arts, Palmerston North, NZ
1998 Upstairs Gallery, Whitianga, NZ
1997 Upstairs Gallery, Whitianga, NZ
1996 Prints from ’96, Manifesto, Auckland, NZ
1996 Prints from ’96, Upstairs Gallery, Whitianga, NZ
1995 Mutch/Smither, Upstairs Gallery, Whitianga, NZ
1995 Chiaroscuro, Auckland, NZ
1994 Manifesto, Auckland, NZ
1993 The Mill, New Plymouth, NZ
1992 The Mill, New Plymouth, NZ
1992 Through the Gate, McVicar Gallery, New Plymouth, NZ
1990 Installation, White Hart Hotel, New Plymouth, NZ
1989 Tom Mutch Open Show, New Plymouth, NZ
1989 Colour & Shape, Taranaki Museum, New Plymouth, NZ
1988 33 1/3 Gallery, Wellington, NZ
1987 242 Gallery, Hastings, NZ
1987 33 1/3 Gallery, Wellington, NZ
1986 King Street Gallery, New Plymouth, NZ
1986 Huatoki Gallery, New Plymouth, NZ
1986 Mutch/Smither, Huatoki Gallery, New Plymouth, NZ
1985 Performance Café, Auckland, NZ
1985 John Leech Gallery, Auckland, NZ
1984 Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, NZ
1984 Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui, NZ
1984 King Street Gallery, New Plymouth, NZ
1984 John Leech Gallery, Auckland, NZ
1983 C.S.A, Christchurch, NZ
1983 John Leech Gallery, Auckland, NZ
1982 Bowen Galleries, Wellington, NZ
1980 New Zealand House, London, UK
1977 Patana Gallery, Sydney, Australia
1977 Taj Mahal Gallery, Wellington, NZ
1976 Clearwater Gallery, New Plymouth, NZ
1974 Settlement Gallery, New Plymouth, NZ
1973 Ertel Book Shop, New Plymouth, NZ
The Poverty of War
Carbon Footprint of War and the Pollution of Religion
Talking Through A Hole In Your Head