Mercury in retrograde

Mercury in retrograde: clay, earth, mud and ceramics brings together four artists working dynamically with the grounding materials of the earth. Artists Iza Lozano, Zhu Ohmu, Maia McDonald, and Te Ara Minhinnick present works that embrace, innovate and invert the practice of ceramics, challenging traditional notions and broadening our understanding of clay as an ever-contemporary material.

According to contemporary astrologers, today’s hyper-connected, hyper-productive world is dependent on the steady movements of planet Mercury — the winged messenger. However, many times a year, Mercury appears to reverse its orbit around the sun, disrupting reliance on communication and technology. This optical illusion is said to be a rich period for creativity — for those of us that remain open to the unexpected.

While astrology can help us feel a sense of connection to the celestial canopy we all exist under, it can only be seen while standing on Earth. Following the patterns and movements that occur above us, grounds us.

Maia McDonald (Ngaati Mutunga, Urenui Marae; Te Ati Awa, Parihaka) is based in New Plymouth. Zhu Ohmu is a New Zealand artist based in Melbourne. Iza Lozano is currently based in Mexico City and Auckland. Te Ara Minhinnick (Ngāti Te Ata) is based in Waiuku, a rural town located on the southern side of the Manukau Harbour.

Curated by Chloe Geoghegan

10 November - 12 December 2021

Photos by Sam Hartnett


Maia McDonald, The Physics Room

Iza Lozano, Open Studios Waitakere

Te Ara Minhinnick, Tautai (YouTube)

Zhu Ohmu, Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert

Mercury in retrograde, astrology

Mercury retrograde, astronomy (YouTube)

Denis O'Connor, Mud Company (1995)

Ngāti Te Ata, Waka Huia (YouTube)

Amy Weng, On Mud (2018)