Terminus: Jess Johnson & Simon Ward

Hastings City Art Gallery

30 April – 24 October 2022 | Holt Gallery

With their pioneering use of virtual reality, artists Jess Johnson and Simon Ward have created a mysterious universe of alien architecture populated by humanoid clones and cryptic symbols, traversed via a network of travellators and gateways.

Johnson and Ward’s collaboration is unique. Johnson’s hand-produced analogue drawings, textiles and paintings are at the heart of each project and feature in the exhibition. Working closely together, Ward then digitises and animates Johnson’s imagery, casting her creatures and dizzying worlds into the digital realm. The immersive animations are further enriched with input from developer Kenny Smith and sound composer Andrew Clarke. Together they create a mesmerising virtual reality quest; a choose-your-own adventure into the technological.

Prepare yourself for a slippage of time and space as your journey propels you across five distinct realms: you will pass through Fleshold Crossing; take respite in Known Unknown; lose yourself within Scumm Engine; bravely face impending danger in the tower of Gog & Magog; and experience the brink of sensory overload in the psychedelic Tumblewych. The mysteries of what you ultimately seek will be revealed: an understanding that reality is not fixed but rather both malleable and multiple.

Terminus was commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia with support provided by The Balnaves Foundation 2017-18, and is toured in Aotearoa by Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga.