Denis O’Connor - What the Roof Dreamt


Media Release: August, 2007. 

Denis O’Connor: What the Roof Dreamt opens at City Gallery Wellington

A singular presence in New Zealand visual arts, Denis O’Connor makes sculptures and photographic works which resound with echoes of past events and personal histories. His exhibition, What the Roof Dreamt, 11 August- 4 November, features work that was created in both Cork, Ireland, and New Zealand. The works explore his ancestral homeland while referencing the Auckland peninsula, where he was brought up, and Waiheke Island, where he has lived for over three decades.

He uses sculptural materials that are robust and evocative: Welsh roof slates and Pakistani onyx (often recycled from building sites); granite; obsidian and crystal. At the same time, his fascination with the literary world, and the contrasts of text and image, means that his works are also lush, poetic and at times dreamlike.

The grouping of new works include the ambitious four-part sculpture The Quartermaster’s Dream, thirty engraved roof slates, and a triptych of photographic works titled Rathcoola Dreaming, made in collaboration with Dara McGrath. The exhibition suggests exciting new directions in O’Connor’s art, while at the same time furthering his reputation as one of the most technically skilled and audacious sculptors currently working in this country.

Denis O’Connor has a special relationship with City Gallery Wellington, having made the original stone logo-design for the gallery. In 2001, his exhibition of works inspired by Wellington poets, The Feather Trade, was enthusiastically received at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington

The current exhibition is accompanied by a major book of the same title published April 2007, with support of Two Rooms, Auckland, the Burr Foundation, and The Richard and Sophie Nicoll Trust, London. This body of work was previously seen at Two Rooms Gallery in Auckland. Denis O’Connor: What the Roof Dreamt has been made possible by the generous support of ANZ, as Principal Corporate Benefactor of City Gallery Wellington

Denis O’Connor: What the Roof Dreamt

11 August – 4 November

City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from Wellington City Council