Milky Way Bar: New Wellington Artists

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Media Release: September, 2004. 

Milky Way Bar’ is the third new Wellington artist show at City Gallery Wellington’s Michael Hirschfeld Gallery. Titled after Bill Manhire’s 1991 poem ‘Milky Way Bar’, the exhibition brings together eight fresh and dynamic young artists who “live at the edge of the universe/like everybody else.”

Featuring work by Marina Cains, Ryan Chadfield, Daniel du Bern, Regan Gentry, Kim Paton, Gregory Sharp, Marnie Slater and Louise Tulett, Milky Way Bar highlights the present moment: it’s about what these artists are making, thinking and communicating now.

Recently, the Wellington arts scene has entered a boom phase, with new exhibition spaces opening up, new arts projects being initiated, and new artists constantly emerging, fuelled in part by the establishment of the School of Fine Arts at Massey University’s Wellington campus. Milky Way Bar gives audiences an insight into how young artists are making their way in this rapidly expanding world.

Marnie Slater’s work evokes the tension felt by young artists when they are torn between wanting to be discovered and wanting to hide in the shadows. Slater has created a mini mountain with a step ladder and a white satin flag with the word ‘NOW’ embroidered on it. Will you seize the day by climbing up and snatching the flag, Slater asks, or will you be stuck at the bottom, doubting your ability to face up to the challenge?

Regan Gentry also explores the idea of being a new artist trying to break into the art world. In 2003 Gentry began his ‘Foot in the Door’ project by sending hundreds of letters to public and commercial art galleries and art-related institutions asking if he could install a one foot ruler or piece of measuring tape in their entrance way. Enterprising and audacious, the project literally enables Gentry to get a foot in the door at a range of institutions. At the Milky Way Bar’ opening, Gentry will insert a foot of measuring tape into the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery’s roller door, marking his entry into another gallery space, another scalp in his exhibiting history.

Martian Invaders in the Twilight Arcade

Thursday 30 September 2004 at 5.30pm

Join the artists in Milky Way Bar’ and Michael Hirschfeld Gallery curator Sarah Farrar for an informal floortalk in the gallery. Free entry, all welcome.

DesignWorks EIG are proud sponsors of the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery. Thanks also Colourcraft and Publication & Design, Wellington City Council. City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding from the Wellington City Council.