City Gallery

Past exhibition

Milky Way Bar

18 September–17 October 2004

ARTISTS Marina Cains, Ryan Chadfield, Daniel du Bern, Regan Gentry, Kim Paton, Marnie Slater, Louise Tullet CURATOR Sarah Farrah

Milky Way Bar explores the work of eight young Wellington artists. It draws its title from a Bill Manhire poem, which opens ‘I live at the edge of the universe, / like everybody else.’ 

In Marina Cains renders sparrows in various stages of flight. Ryan Chadfield makes a cap from childhood teeth—his own and other children’s, discarded from the old Dental School on Willis Street. His Tooth Hat makes us think about childhood: the formation our first teeth and then their loss, associated with both pain and reward. Daniel du Bern’s video Back to Nature plays on the landscape genre, so prevalent in New Zealand painting. In the town belt, he plays the prankster, lobbing cabbages into the vista. Regan Gentry inserts a one-foot length of measuring tape into the gallery’s roller door. He's approached galleries throughout the country asking to get ‘his foot in the door’.

Kim Paton’s The Same Bare Place (Stop and Sled) is ‘active with potential but physically unreachable’. Modelled on a European-designed toboggan, the sled sits patiently in the gallery, waiting to be used. Gregory Sharp’s Bad Vibrations combines a pair of smelly sports socks, margarine, and the sound of footsteps. The soundtrack builds up but never delivers an anticipated climax. Marnie Slater addresses an anxiety familiar to young artists: wanting to be discovered and wanting to hide in the shadows. Her mini-mountain is topped with a white-satin flag embroidered ‘NOW’. We are faced with a choice: climb the step ladder or remain at the bottom, looking up. Louise Tullet writes ‘no small wonder’ using a fifty-metre length of fairy lights.