Community Garden

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Media Release: April, 2010. 

City Gallery Wellington announces group show Community Garden in the Hirschfeld Gallery

The art gets a little wild at City Gallery in May when a community of native stick insects move in as part of the next Hirschfeld Gallery exhibition Community Garden.

Jenny Gillam will bring two different species of native stick insects into the gallery, visiting each day to care for her subjects, nurturing the insects she has housed and watched closely over the last few months. Working with Massey University scientist Dr Steve Trewick, Gillam will monitor and record the behaviours of each species inside their specially designed vivarium.

A series of graphs on the wall will chart the stick insects’ positioning in relation to different types of foliage (which serves as both their food and camouflage), and the interaction between green and brown species. This process will allow artist and scientist to present and observe the movement patterns of the insects and will offer the audience another reading of ‘community.’

Gillam is one of four artists exhibiting in the new exhibition Community Garden in the Hirschfeld Gallery, which runs 7 May to 20 June, and focuses on documenting and broadening the definitions of community, the local environment, and communal behaviour.

Rob Cherry’s work A Beautiful Day for Walking Away traces a line around the perimeter of the gallery. The work is made from found plastic objects, which the artist has gathered from a local beach, Evans Bay. Detritus from the local rubbish dump blows and collects along this shore, and Cherry has completed a series of projects where he amasses objects of a particular colour for a set period of time. This work is the result of 16 half hour periods, total 8 hours of collecting – the equivalent of one working day.

Andy Palmer’s photographs are from a series focused on the Community Gardens at Tanera Park in Brooklyn. He visited the gardens monthly for a period of 15 months, photographing the same two views each time. These site portraits form a chart of the changes over time, showing Palmer’s interest in tracing the evolution of a cultivated site, the relation between urban and ‘natural’ environments, and the landscape as a site of production.

Wayne Barrar’s six works come from a series addressing biohazards in New Zealand. Here the focus is Koi carp, an introduced species that causes severe problems in New Zealand waterways, particularly in shallow lakes where they create their own landscapes, affect water quality and compete with native species. His work documents the efforts being taken to remedy the impacts of these fish through reducing numbers of Koi carp.

The four artists explore ideas of community, of behavioural change, and of the impacts made on the environment by both humans and non-humans.

Community Garden

Wayne Barrar, Rob Cherry, Jenny Gillam and Andy Palmer

7 May – 20 June 2010

Hirschfeld Gallery

Image: Wayne Barrar, Champion’s board at Koi Carp Classic, Waikato 2008. Colour pigment print. Courtesy of the artist