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Media Release: August, 2009. 

One of three new architecturally-designed galleries thanks to support of Wellington arts families

It’s been an 11 month building programme and several years of negotiations by Director Paula Savage, but City Gallery is set to reopen on 27 September with three new gallery spaces, one dedicated solely to the exhibition of Māori and Pacific art. The additions to one of the capital city’s favourite buildings, the art-deco City Gallery in Civic Square, have been designed by Wellington architect Stuart Gardyne of Architecture+. In 1992/93 Gardyne converted the old Wellington public library into a contemporary art gallery for City Gallery Wellington, achieving a National Award from the NZ Institute of Architects.

The development project was made possible by the generosity of some extraordinary Wellington arts patrons: Gillian and Roderick Deane; The Adam Foundation; the Hancock family; the Hirschfeld family; and of course Wellington City Council.

“The addition will be clad in a metal webgrate rainscreen, identifying it as discrete from the original building, and forming a relationship with the contemporary stair and lift tower additions of 1993. The rainscreen is simple, bold, yet unexpected, supporting City Gallery’s role to challenge preconceived notions of art and design,” says Gardyne.

The new two-story tower block will house the Gillian and Roderick Deane Gallery, the only civic gallery with a dedicated space to exhibit contemporary Māori and Pacific Art. In a country devoid of many arts benefactors, City Gallery is just one of the many recipients that has benefited from the generous support of the Deane Endowment Trust, created in memory of the Deane’s daughter Kristen. A Curator, Maori & Pacific Art and the opening show will be announced very soon.

Thanks to the ongoing support of Wellington’s Hirschfeld family, the new tower will also include a purpose built gallery for the much-loved Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, dedicated to the exhibition of Wellington artists and designers. The Gallery will open with a major installation by Regan Gentry, a highway bypass constructed entirely from cane basketware, commissioned by City Gallery. Regan is one of our most exciting artists, well known for his large scale outdoor installations, including Of Gorse Of Course at the NewDowse (2007). Regan Gentry: Make Way will run until 22 November.

Downstairs, the Russell Hancock Gallery replaces the former cinema and will showcase the Civic art collection in a light-filled extended foyer space. Russell Hancock, along with his wife Kathleen, was an active and long-standing supporter of Wellington’s literary and arts community. In 2004, the Hancock family made a generous bequest to the city, which included Russell’s personal arts collection, to create a municipal gallery space, resulting in the new City Gallery space.

The multi-purpose Adam Auditorium adds versatility to the Gallery’s vibrant public programming and hosting facilities, both for the public and corporate sectors. The Auditorium is supported by Wellington art collectors and benefactors, Denis and Verna Adam of the Adam Foundation. Their support for the arts has included the Adam Art Gallery and the Adam Concert Room at Victoria University, among other projects.

Direct from the MCA in Sydney, the stellar exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years will open in the main galleries and run from 27 September 2009 until 7 February 2010.

Media Release: June, 2009. 

Marie Shannon: Love Notes (2005) at the Courtenay Place Light Boxes

19 June 2009 – 19 December 2009

Wellington’s Courtenay Place doubtless witnesses many impassioned declarations of love and affection and soon the well-known party strip will see a public display of affection on an even larger graphic scale. The Courtenay Place Light Boxes, in Courtenay Place Park near Taranaki Street, will exhibit a series of photographs of private love notes by Auckland contemporary photographer Marie Shannon.

The sixteen notes are from Shannon’s Love Notes (2005) series and the works initiate a disarmingly intimate encounter amidst the bustle of a busy commercial urban thoroughfare. The images will transform a commercial site into a zone for more personal exchanges, of thought and affection.

“Amid the visual and aural clamour of Courtenay Place, the spare black and white fragments of Love Notes strike a disarmingly intimate and tender tone,” says curator Heather Galbraith, Senior Curator / Manager Curatorial Programmes at City Gallery Wellington, “Drawn from a collection of messages exchanged between the artist, her partner and their child, the notes can be understood within a biographical context, but they also have a more universal appeal. They provide an insight into how we use language to express affection and reflect upon the strength of the bond of love.”

Born in Nelson in 1960, Marie Shannon is a renowned photographer who has exhibited throughout New Zealand and internationally. In 1996, she represented New Zealand at the Asia Pacific Triennale, Queensland Art Gallery and also exhibited that year at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney. In 1998 Shannon showed at the Govett Brewster Gallery, New Plymouth, and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. In 2000 she was included in the exhibition ACProjects, New York, Five Shows, Five Curators. Her work was featured in the 2005 publication Contemporary New Zealand Photographers. Shannon graduated from University of Auckland in 1983 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She lives and works in Auckland.

The illuminated Courtenay Place Light Boxes were designed as an integral part of Wellington City Council’s Courtney Place Park project and were unveiled in May 2007. This exhibition has been generated by City Gallery Wellington during the closure of its building for development and seismic strengthening and is supported by Wellington city Council’s Public Art fund. City Gallery Wellington will reopen 27 September 2009 with Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years.

Marie Shannon: Love Notes (2005) 

19 June 2009 – 19 December 2009

Courtenay Place Park, cnr Taranaki St and Courtenay Place

For further details please contact:

Rachel Healy, City Gallery Wellington, ph: 027 6874226, rachel.healy@wmt.org.nz,  www.citygallery.org.nz

The Courtenay Place Light Boxes are managed by the Council’s Public Art Panel. City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from Wellington City Council.

Media Release: June, 2009. 

Art that goes on forever dot dot dot... Exhibition of Japan’s greatest living artist to reopen City Gallery Wellington.

Following an 11 month building development, City Gallery Wellington will reopen on 27 September with a solo exhibition of internationally renowned Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. Mirrored Years allows New Zealanders the rare opportunity to experience the strange and dizzying world of this avant-garde artist and her trademark polka dots. A sculptor, painter, film producer and fashion designer, Kusama exhibited with Andy Warhol in 1960s New York and vied with him for position of the most publicised artist of the era. Renowned for her obsession with repetitive patterns and forms, Kusama’s exhilarating room-sized mirrored installations allow a breathtaking experience of infinity and are utterly unlike anything else the viewer will experience in the world of art.

“The most enchanting, exquisite, want-to-stay-lost-here space in Sydney,” visitor to Mirrored Years in Sydney.

Spanning 70 years of practice, Mirrored Years comes to Wellington direct from a record breaking season at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum Boijmands van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and is the largest showing of Kusama’s work to be seen in Australasia. It is the result of four years of planning with Kusama Studio by City Gallery Director, Paula Savage, subsequent to her meeting the artist in Tokyo in 2004,

“The Yayoi Kusama exhibition continues City Gallery’s history of negotiating high-quality exhibitions of major international artists for New Zealand audiences,” she says.

In 1958 aged 27, Kusama moved to Manhatten where she became a mover and shaker in the US counter-culture of the time and was embraced by all the important artists of the era, such as Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. She organised legendary performances or “Kusama Happenings” and created influential work in a period of significant change and innovation. Kusama had her own fashion label and literally covered the Woodstock generation with dots.

Kusama returned to Japan in 1973 where she continued to develop and create her art at her Tokyo studio. Four decades later, Kusama is a national treasure in Japan and is hugely revered globally. Her original, wildly imaginative patterns and forms have influenced younger generations of artists in Japan and elsewhere. Now aged 80, she recently produced 50 new print works for inclusion in this exhibition.

Yayoi Kusama: The Mirrored Years presents seminal works from the 1960s and 1970s alongside more recent peices. The earliest work is a small drawing of a woman in a kimono that Kusama did when she was 10; the figure has dots all over it. Kusama has acknowledged that her dots are taken directly from the hallucinations and obsessive thoughts that began as a child.

“Red, green and yellow dots can be the circles representing the earth, the sun or the moon,” says Kusama in her autobiography, “I paint polka dots on the bodies of people and with these polka dots the people will self-obliterate and return to the nature of the universe.”

City Gallery Wellington will also reopen with three new gallery spaces and a new auditorium as part of its $6.3 million building development.

Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years is a partnership with Museum Boijmanns van Beuningen, Rotterdam, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. It is curated by Jaap Guldemond (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen), Franck Gautherot, Kim Seungduk (Le Consortium, Dijon), with additional works selected by Paula Savage (Director, City Gallery Wellington) and Judith Blackall (Artistic Director, MCA). Principal Sponsor: Ernst & Young Generously supported by The Japan Foundation and Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years, 27 September 2009 - 7 February 2010

Media Release: September 2008

Wellington designers help paste-up Gallery before closing

It’s been a nine year partnership, showcasing some 214 artists, now it’s time for DesignWorks to have their own show in the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery. For Nine Years of DesignWorks Time: an exhibition of exhibition posters, 9-19 October, the entire gallery will be pasted in posters by gallery designers and sponsors DesignWorks, before it temporarily closes for City Gallery’s building development. The much loved MHG will be back in September 2009 in a new custom-designed gallery space on the 1st floor, part of the larger new-look City Gallery designed by architect Stuart Gardyne of Architecture+.

Nine Years of DesignWorks Time not only celebrates the many artists, curators and designers who have worked with the Gallery, but salutes its very own Wellington designers. DesignWorks have sponsored the Gallery since 1999, a series of their young talented designers consistently turning out promotional posters and marketing material to tight deadlines – all in their own time. The posters in the exhibition have been chosen by the designers currently working at DesignWorks, in conversation with others who have moved on. Current designers will also be involved in the installation of the show, pasting up the posters selected. The names of all the artists involved since 1999 will be included on the exhibition signage.

To many young designers, ‘in your own time’ is a familiar phrase when it comes to pro bono creative work. Often the brief must be completed outside of regular work hours, squeezed around fee–paying jobs, and the ‘client’ relationship is built around transactions of time and talk, rather than commercial exchange. With a monthly turn-around and a diverse range of artists and designers to profile, the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery may have seemed a demanding client at times. Nine Years of DesignWorks Time is testament to the originality of DesignWorks’ designers who have produced stunning posters for Hirschfeld artists like Gavin Hipkins, Seraphine Pick, Taika Waititi, Wayne Youle, Terry Urbahn, Matthew McIntyre Wilson, Martin Thompson, Regan Gentry, Sarah Jane Parton, Katherine Smyth and Rachael Rakena, to name just a few.

Media Release: September, 2008. 

Anne Shelton: Room Room

Wellington artist Ann Shelton’s exhibition Room Room depicts an inventory of vacated institutional rooms. Opening at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, 4 September, the exhibition documents the empty rooms of the Phoenix Building at the Salvation Army’s former Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Facility on Rotoroa Island in the Haurauki Gulf. The building will be demolished when Rotoroa becomes a public conservation estate, and consequently Shelton’s project is twofold: at once an act of preservation and a kind of elegy.

In Room Room, Shelton alludes to the Claude glass, a small portable convex mirror used as an aid to painting during the 18th century. The mirror allowed the painter to reduce a scene and make it easier to paint. Taking the round shape of the Claude glass, Shelton’s works appear literally stretched over a convex mirror. Inverted, the images present a reflected view of the room.

Shelton alludes to the technical trickery of photography while at the same time using it as a tool to preserve the ephemeral. Circular images of vacant rooms float on large vertical photographic sheets. Jutting into the frame are edges of doors and window frames, all slightly distorted as if seen on a convex mirror. At first glance, the images are disorienting. A closer look at the few photos that contain numbers or writing reveals the images are reversed. Shelton not only points at the artifice of photography, but also its pre-history. Visual aids like the Claude glass have informed the way we see and interpret the world through reflections of the real.

Ann Shelton was born in Timaru, and now lives and works in Wellington. Her work is exhibited on a regular basis in public galleries, artist run spaces and dealer galleries both within New Zealand, and in China, Australia, Italy, England, Poland and North America. In 2002 Shelton completed her Masters at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. In 2004 she was the Govett-Brewster New Zealand Artist in Residence, and during that time produced the solo museum show a kind of sleep, and once more from the street, presented at Starkwhite. In 2007 her major project a library to scale toured New Zealand and Australia after being awarded the Trust Waikato Contemporary Art Award (2006). Recent group shows include a Collect/project at the Adam Art Gallery, curated by Tina Barton, and Earth Matters at the Auckland City Art Gallery, curated by Natasha Conland. Shelton is represented by Starkwhite and Paul McNamara Gallery. The artist lectures in Fine Art and Photography at Massey University in Wellington.

Ann Shelton: Room Room

4 September - 5 October 2008

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington

Media Release: July, 2008. 

Wellington artist conjures magical urban landscape at Michael Hirschfeld Gallery

Enter the surreal and magical world of artist Joanna Langford in a new installation at City Gallery Wellington’s Michael Hirschfeld Gallery. The Beautiful and the Damned – Joanna Langford, 25 July until 31 August, is a startling miniature cityscape constructed from recycled computer keyboards, lit by hundreds of tiny LED lights.

Langford’s urban landscape is both realistic and imagined, implying a scene of diminutive city dwellers going about their everyday routines, yet there is a magical quality in the work which takes it away from the ordinary. Magic Realist writer Gabriel García Márquez said ‘My most important problem was destroying the lines of demarcation that separate what seems real from what seems fantastic’; here the fiction seems to draw from both with ease.

Having worked in two recycle shops, Wanaka Wastebusters and now Wellington City Council Recycle Centre shop, and from a bedroom studio, Langford is often physically surrounded by inspiration for her art. Her practice promotes the use of humble or insignificant materials, not unlike the Italian Arte Povera (or ‘poor art’) movement of the 1960s, where artists improvised with whatever media they could get their hands on to create fantastical structures. The ‘magpie-ing’ of unwanted refuse is fundamental, and the materials dictate the form.

“I find it helpful being in a situation where I’m surrounded by potential art materials and objects and I enjoy transforming these “low” materials in to something magical,” says Langford in Art News Winter, 2008

Langford creates architectural structures that are stable yet at the same time wonky, teetering and temporary. The towering keyboard structures in this work seem precarious – they are optimistically supported by bamboo skewers and a web of glue strands. A makeshift aesthetic, improvised materials and seemingly ad hoc configurations are found in many of Langford’s works. In the past she has used plastic bags, plasticine, popsicle sticks, biscuits and sweets alongside other found materials, always attached with the ubiquitous glue gun. The title of the show makes reference to F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1922 novel of the same name.

Joanna Langford was born in Gisborne in 1978. She lives and works in Wellington and in October 2008 will take up a residency in Iceland. Langford completed a Bachelor of Media Arts (Painting) at Wintec in Hamilton in 1999, and in 2004 graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Master of Fine Arts (Painting). In 2006 she was awarded the Olivia Spencer-Bower Fellowship, and in 2007 the Tylee Cottage Residency at Wanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery, and the Royal Overseas League Residency in London and Scotland. Group exhibitions include: Private Park, Mary Newton Gallery (2008); Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, Te Tuhi, Auckland (2007); and Out of Erewhon, Christchurch Art Gallery (2006). Recent solo exhibitions include Brave Days, Enjoy Gallery, Wellington; Down from the Nightlands, Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui (2007); and The Quietening, Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch (2007). Langford is represented by Jonathan Smart Gallery.

The Beautiful and the Damned – Joanna Langford

25 July – 31 August 2008

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington

Media Release: June, 2008. 

EXPERIENCE THE INNOVATIVE AND EXQUISITE WORLD OF FIONA HALL

City Gallery Wellington presents Fiona Hall: Force Field from July 12, an in-depth survey of the work of one of Australia’s leading and most innovative artists. Curated by City Gallery’s Paula Savage and Gregory O’Brien, with Vivienne Webb (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney), it features sculpture, installation, photography and video works from the 1970s to the present. It also includes a major body of new work inspired by Hall’s travels in New Zealand.

Australian arts commentator John McDonald believes Hall’s imagination to be “so fertile that an artist could base an entire career on any of the phases she has explored and discarded”. Hall possesses “an offbeat sense of humour and a work ethic that would put the pyramid builders to shame”. Sydney Morning Herald, 19 April 2008

Adelaide-based Fiona Hall is not only renowned for her imagination but for her profound fascination with the wonders of nature. Her work questions humanity’s increasingly problematic relationship with the environment.

“In my art I am finding ways of bring together the astounding, magical, uplifting world with the very sobering realisation that we are putting that world in peril.” Fiona Hall.

Hall transforms everyday materials and objects, incorporating a diverse array of techniques, that are often domestic in their origins: Coca-Cola cans are shredded and knitted into a cloak (The Social Fabric, 1996); US dollar bills are woven to create exquisite birds’ nests (Tender, 2003-05); Tupperware containers are transformed into a stunning backlit installation (The Price is Right, 1994); glass beads are threaded and knitted into an intricate flower or a skull (Understory, 1999-2004); and in her most well known series of works (Paradisus terrestris, 1998-99), sardine tins are reconfigured into miraculous sculptures. In Mourning Chorus, 2007-08, plastic containers with attached replica bird beaks are integrated into a startling coffin-shaped display case, as a lament for New Zealand’s extinct birds.

Born in Sydney in 1953, Fiona Hall established herself as an important Australian photographer in the 1970s and then widened her practice to include sculpture and installation. In 1997 she received the Contempora 5 Art Award and in 1999 the prestigious Clemenger Art Award. She was appointed to the Advisory Council of the Australian National University’s Centre for the Mind in 1998. Hall has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally, and is represented in every major public collection in Australia.

Fiona Hall: Force Field was developed in partnership with Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, where it opened February 2008. Following its presentation in Wellington it will travel to Christchurch Art Gallery. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue.

Fiona Hall: Force Field

12 July (from noon) until 19 October

City Gallery Wellington

citygallery@wmt.org.nz, www.citygallery.org.nz

Principal Sponsor: anz

Fiona Hall: Force Field is a partnership between City Gallery Wellington and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. The exhibition catalogue is generously supported by Dr Roderick and Gillian Deane. Fiona Hall undertook a residency at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, enabling the development of New Zealand-based works. City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from Wellington City Council.

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

Media Release: May, 2008. 

Decorative Arts Go Dark in New Exhibition at Michael Hirschfeld Gallery

Etiquette for the Homesick is an exhibition by Wellington artists Genevieve Packer and Caroline McQuarrie that puts the domestic arts in a new light. It opens at City Gallery Wellington’s Michael Hirschfeld Gallery on 2nd May and runs until 8th June.

Both Packer and McQuarrie work with ideas of domestic craft and home life, invoking a darker side to the decorative arts and the creation of personal and collective stories. In Packer’s work, this takes the form of souvenir or nostalgic motifs which become objects to be worn or displayed. In McQuarrie’s, images of family or familiar objects are physically ‘crafted’, suggesting intimacy, but also the artificiality inherent in these art forms.

The idea of the “etiquette” of the decorative arts is often aligned with an expectation of good or appropriate behaviour. Works which appear to belong in the home tend to be valued for their outward appearance or usefulness alone. Etiquette for the Homesick suggests that design-based art and craft in fact has a darker face, and invokes a rebellion against the confinement of the domestic realm. Objects are investigated as carriers of personal significance, and for their ability to console, make sinister, or exploit common sentiments.

Packer’s exquisite green Etiquette jugs and the Aerial Antics lamp lend themselves to a domestic environment; they simultaneously evoke nostalgia and a sense of belonging. Classic motifs associated with national identity and pride, are scaled down and given a personal tone. Caroline’s work, A Singularity (2007) allowed her to have some mischievous fun with her own family portraits. She worked directly onto the photographs, embroidering over the cosy family scene and re-creating it in tapestry wool. By literally sewing her family together, she attempts to highlight the artificial, constructed nature of this type of image. Her works comment on the misleading representation of idealised family life that these types of photographs engender.

Genevieve Packer, daughter of writer Ann Packer (Stitch: Contemporary New Zealand Textile Artists), and Caroline McQuarrie are graduates of Massey University School of Creative Arts. Caroline completed a BFA (Photography) at Canterbury University in 1997, before gaining a Masters (Fine Arts) in Wellington, where she currently tutors in photography. Genevieve completed her Masters (Design) at Massey in 2007. She is a Wellington-based textile designer, craft enthusiast and tutor in textiles at Massey University. In 2007, Genevieve exhibited at the Doreen Blumhardt Gallery for the opening of the New Dowse and was the recipient of a Wellington City Council Award for Innovation and Creativity.

Genevieve Packer & Caroline McQuarrie: Etiquette for the Homesick

2 May – 8 June 2008

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington

City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from Wellington City Council. Michael Hirschfeld Gallery is proudly sponsored by DesignWorks Enterprise IG. Thanks also to Gawjus Things, Publication and Design, Wellington City Council and Courtenay Photographics.

Media Release: March, 2008. 

Shiny Black Shapes Transform Gallery to Grotto

Grotto: wall works by Victor Berezovsky opens with a roar at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery on Thursday 6 March to coincide with the Festival Late Night Session - although visitors may want to return later for some more peaceful contemplation.

Berezovsky’s large-scale works, which are painted directly on to the gallery walls, play on the ambiguities of perception and appeal to our need to affix meaning to or translate them. These black gesso-painted forms may seem familiar, almost decipherable, resembling shapes or images we already know, yet they could also represent voids, holes or openings.

The abstract forms create an unfamiliar landscape, drawing attention to the physical space of the gallery itself, while indirectly suggesting a conceptual space beyond. The empty white walls seem different, becoming perhaps as meaning-full as the shapes.

In the windowless Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, Berezovsky plays with the idea of a ‘grotto’— a cave-like space without natural light - as host to the primitive, prehistoric forms, drawing on ideas of 1950s psychotherapy and optical theory concerning illusions of mass and weight. By invoking the overlap of physical space and ‘space of mind’, the works transform the gallery into a kind of meditative no-man’s land. The exhibition is particularly timely given the pending remodelling of Michael Hirschfeld Gallery; drawing attention to the small physical space which is about to change, but also to the limitless breadth of a ‘mind-space’.

Born in 1974, Berezovsky completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (majoring in painting) at Ilam, Canterbury University in 1995. Currently he lives, shows and works in Wellington as a full time artist. His most recent solo exhibitions include Bobble, Mary Newton Gallery, Wellington, 2007 and an earlier version of Grotto, Conical Inc, Melbourne, Australia, 2006. A temporary public art commission, Junction at Toi Poneke Gallery finishes in March.

Grotto: wall works by Victor Berezovsky 

6 March - 13 April, 2008

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery

City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from Wellington City Council. Michael Hirschfeld Gallery is proudly sponsored by DesignWorks Enterprise IG. Thanks also to Publication and Design, Wellington City Council and Courtenay Photographics.

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