Karen Walker and the art of shopping

While not a huge fan of her clothes, Leg of Lamb is impressed with the current installation at Karen Walker’s Ponsonby store.  The shop is fitted out with a selection of artworks by Geoffrey Heath, Sam Mitchell and Yvonne Todd (among others), care of Auckland art dealer Michael Lett.

Mitchell has adorned the shopfront with a pair of her signature budgies.  Larger than life and cartoonish, the cheeky mural conveys her continued interest in painting on glass and perspex. 

Inside, ‘Family Doctor ‘, a photograph from Yvonne Todd’s 2009 ‘Wall of Man’ series confuses, but in a good way.  Todd has created a group of anonymous men of stature (Sales Directors, Company Founders, Agrichemical Spokesmen) presented portrait-style in oval frames.  Devoid of the fake teeth and freaky costumes typical of her oeuvre, ‘Family Doctor’ is subdued and overwhelmingly ordinary.  The doctor’s contrived pose and feigned benevolence is unnerving.  The photograph’s complexity reveals itself upon repeated views.

Yvonne Todd, 'Family Doctor', 2009

Ordinariness fuels the work of photographer Geoffrey Heath too and ‘Honesty’ is no exception.  A dated floral arrangement containing retro favourites like carnations, gypsophila and red roses sits against an insipid pastel background.  Coming of age in the 1980’s, the decade provides rich ground for Heath and works like ‘Honesty’ recall this heady time with a faded (and knowing) sense of nostalgia.

Geoffrey Heath, 'Honesty', 2005

Leg of Lamb always enjoys seeing artwork in different contexts and Karen Walker’s store offers a low key, intimate viewing experience.  Karen Walker, Ponsonby is located at 2/171 Ponsonby Road, Auckland.

Karen Walker and the art of shopping

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