Richard van der Aa & Chauncey Flay

Richard van der Aa & Chauncey Flay

Chauncey Flay | One Million Marks

Chauncey Flay’s One Million Marks, is a fascinating and uncompromising project, that began with the question ‘What is infinity?’ and eventuated into a process of making one million marks from stone pigment. For the project, Chauncey collected, sculpted and polished 100 stones from across the South Island and transformed each stone into a small sculpture. Using the slurry from each stone, he then created a natural pigment, from which he produced (by hand) one million painted marks.

Each of the 100 stone sculptures comes with a book containing 10,000 marks – made from the unique stone pigment – collectively cataloguing the total number of marks made: one million! One Million Marks is a conceptually strong and obsessive body of work that, amongst other things, speaks to how we might value labour in the art making process.

The project was the subject of a recent stuff article and has been generously reviewed by Don Abbott in the new edition (Winter 2023) of Art New Zealand – who mentioned:

“One Million Marks is a remarkable record of a million gestures. There is a performative component to all sculpture, but with OMM the artwork is the proof of the performance, its uniformity and orderliness belying the physical and mental strain that was endured during its facture. In the gallery it stands for a year’s work; it is simultaneously the end product of an unimaginable superhuman effort, and a ring-fenced distillation of 12 months’ toil, quite accessible and relatable.. an astounding work of art.”

Foenander Galleries exhibiting 35 of the 100 stones  – which all speak to their provenance of both place and time – each shaped, crafted into form and sold with a bound book of individual marks.  There is limestone from the earthquake damaged Chch Cathedral, and stones donated by fellow stone workers and artists including: Joe Sheehan, Ann Robinson, Tai Meuli and the late sculptor, John Edgar,


Richard van der Aa |  Before you know it

Richard van der Aa‘s exhibition Before you know it is a series of  reductive paintings that examine the point of tension between painting and sculpture, as well as object and image. The title of the show relates both to the way an image might communicate information before a viewer thinks about it – as well as the role the subconscious plays in the painting process, in bringing prior sentiments to the surface uninvited:

“The paintings I have produced here are very much a response to the place. (Karaka, South Auckland.) They speak of a specific location. New Zealand is my birthplace, but I have not lived here since 1989. The question: “Where is home?” became quite potent to me during my time working in Karaka. I think that it played into the paintings as well. They are in part my reaction to the physical (and spiritual) nature of a land which is at once familiar and yet now – strangely foreign to me.

Though I’m using a paired down visual vocabulary which could be read simply as geometric abstraction, I am also allowing myself to be more open to direct quotation from life. Hence the palette really does come from situations observed: Weather and light conditions over the land. Differing times of day. Textures of earth, sea, and sky. The horizontal division is the horizon. One could say I am painting landscapes. (!) The angled or cut off corners suggest to me photographs held in albums by paper corners. These could be snapshots. Moments captured. Things remembered. All there, all the time”. Richard van der Aa 2023

Richard van der Aa lives and works in Paris, France. He was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1963. Richard graduated from University of Canterbury and graduating in 1985, presenting his first solo exhibition – at the C.S.A. Gallery in Christchurch – the same year. Since then his work has since been exhibited extensively in Australia and New Zealand, and in recent years, in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland, the UK and the USA.


Contact the gallery for the complete exhibition catalogue.