Matthew McIntyre Wilson - Seven Stars

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Media Release: June, 2008. 

To coincide with Matariki celebrations, City Gallery Wellington’s Michael Hirschfeld Gallery is featuring the dazzling work of Wellington artist and jeweller, Matthew McIntyre Wilson. Like the Maori New Year celebrations, Seven Stars features the shimmering and iridescent - McIntyre Wilson’s use of copper and silver, particularly in the setting of a darkened gallery, lends itself to thoughts of a sparkling night sky. The artist also reflects on whakapapa, weaving rich family histories into taonga of exquisitely formed metal.

In Seven Stars, Matthew McIntyre Wilson’s intricate woven kete, hinaki, wall panels, belts and armbands are grouped in clusters or ‘constellations’ that relate to the seven stars of the Matariki constellation. While they are not all utility objects, many of the forms in the exhibition are originally useful. Hinaki are used to trap eels, kete whakapuareare for the harvesting of kaimoana and kete kumera for food gathering. These everyday items are reworked in scale and medium.

“Hinaki are traditionally woven from native reeds and vines, crafted for the very specific reason of providing food and sustenance, yet they hold an innate beauty and quality of craftsmanship that needs to be celebrated,” says McIntyre Wilson, “Through the use of post European medium of copper and fine silver, I have tried to recreate my own version of 21st century hinaki.”

While mainly featuring completed works, the show also includes works on paper, the intricate patterns for the final woven designs, along with samples and raw materials. Many of the works are on loan from Wellington and further a field; lenders include journalist Rosemary McLeod and artist Darcy Nicholas. Curator Abby Cunnane says that gathering this family of works together has involved the recollection and retelling of stories, both those related to individual pieces and the broader narratives associated with particular weaving patterns. Works sold or gifted continue to propagate their own stories, many of which remain private until a reunion like this.

Matthew McIntyre Wilson (Taranaki, Ngamahanga, Titahi) was born in Hastings in 1973. He studied jewellery at Whitireia Polytechnic, gaining a Certificate of Craft and Design in 1992, and later at Hawkes Bay Polytechnic, toward a Diploma of Visual Art and Design (Jewellery) in 1996. He has exhibited at Avid, Wellington; Pataka Porirua Museum of Arts and Cultures; The Dowse, Lower Hutt; and as part of the Precious: Seven Wellington Jewellers exhibition (2003) and also Manawa Taki: the Pulsing Heart (2005), both at Michael Hirschfeld Gallery. McIntyre Wilson currently lives and works in Khandallah and teaches at Whitireia Polytechnic.

Matthew McIntyre Wilson: Seven Stars

14 June – 20 July 2008

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington