Pump transforms the window work space into an altar to capitalism. It is kitted out in corporate colours, with a full-size petrol pump standing in the centre of the space. Where one would normally see the litres ticking over and the dollars adding up, a screen is placed showing images photographed and painted by Gary Freemantle; fleeting scenes viewed on the road of countryside, cars, churches and military trucks among other vehicles passing by his studio window.
Freemantle consciously uses the language of religion to describe his work as he believes that 'power, religion and petrol... are intrinsically entwined.' He comments that 'Contemporary logos project corporate power in a similar way that Art previously conveyed the power of the church. Wars have always been waged over religion and now corporate struggles are a factor in this mix with oil being a major player and cause for international tensions.'
Petrol stations and their corporate logos have long been a theme in Freemantle's paintings; however, with the current situation in the Middle East the meaning of his work has gained an added poignancy and greater political purpose. Freemantle is immensely aware of this and in Pump seeks to make explicit his concern with the relationship between world powers and petrol. The logo in the background of Pump plays on that of a major petrol company but can also be read as a sun - whether it is rising to a bright new age or setting as we head towards a dark one is still in the balance.
Gary Freemantle is based in Paekakariki where he has his studio and runs the One Eye Gallery, which he established in December 1997.
- New Gallery, Lower Level
- Free entry