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Interconnectedness is a central theme in Ché Rogers work. Concentric circles radiate outward and contract inwards. Each work pulses with an energy and flow and brings to mind dynamic motifs found within nature such as water ripples, oceanic waves and the sun’s rays. Likes rings found inside a tree, his works evoke the passing of time and the layers of experience and growth acquired. Simultaneously, these symbols of circularity are like portals to realms beyond our backyard, into the cosmic, reminding us of our own insignificant place in this vast, expanding universe.
Multi-disciplinary by nature, Ché enjoys blurring the lines between art, design, photography, film and sound. For example, his recent practice has included works that scratch through painted layers, revealing the metallic surface beneath; three-dimensional installation light works made from repurposed retro plasticware, and a mesmerising video piece that animates his Time Around paper works, layered with a soundtrack that he has created himself.
Ché is also a musician, with a foray in recent years into electronic music, and this aural art form inevitable seeps into his visual arts practice. In his current work he aims to simulate the rhythm found in music. Using line, pattern and repetition he strives to emulate the resonances, vibrations and oscillations of sound waves. With their symmetry, his paintings mirror the physical forms of a spinning vinyl record (particularly when he scratches into the surface of his paintings), a luminescent compact disc or the quivering membrane on a speaker. Through this sonic aesthetic he creates an impression of motion or sound without actually making kinetic work.
Sitting within the framework of Postdigital Art, Ché’s artistic practice is more concerned with being human, than being digital. In both his art and music practices, Ché often explores the theme of Machine vs Human and he challenges our relationship with technology. He is particularly interested in the confusion that a work might bring when it looks (or in the case of music, sounds) like it is produced by technology, but in truth human input was essential in its creation. Ultimately technology is simply a tool. Ché enjoys the ambiguity of his own recent paintings which often look like they have been manufactured by high-tech processes such as laser or digital technology, when in fact they are meticulously hand crafted using basic, analogue, hand-jigged equipment. Overall, Ché is fascinated by art that appears to be made by machines but is in reality an expression of human creativity.
Ché is influenced by the clean and simple design of mid-century minimalism, the playfulness of Op and Pop art, and the strong colours and abstract geometric structures of Russian Constructivism and the Orphism art movement. But he can equally be inspired by popular culture, such as the surreal and graphically arresting film sets from the sixties as seen in cinematic masterpieces such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange. Ché is particularly interested in the way artists, designers and creators in the past have envisioned the future and this retro futurism continues to inspire many facets of his work.
Arriving in Taranaki in 2003, drawn by the cheap real estate and surf, Ché currently lives and works in the creative hub of New Plymouth. He is inspired by the coastal landscapes and his connection to the natural world inevitably surfaces in his work, sometimes unconsciously—whether it be the waves he surfs on or the symmetry of Mt. Taranaki that looks like a perfect circle from above. Ché’s engagement with permaculture, which at its heart has principles that guide humans to work in harmony with our surrounding eco-systems, relates to an aforementioned theme in his work—interconnectedness. People to nature, nature to art, art to music, music to machine, machine to people—everything is connected in some way. And in the end, always and forever, we come full circle.