City Gallery City Gallery Wellington

Past exhibition

Wayne Barrar: An Expanding Subterra

7 May–17 July 2011

ORGANISER Dunedin Public Art Gallery OTHER VENUE Dunedin Public Art Gallery, ?–27 June 2010 PUBLICATION publisher Dunedin Public Art Gallery, essays David L Pike, Aaron Kreisler

A photographic inquiry into artificial underground worlds, An Expanding Subterra addresses the industrialisation of nature and the politics of land use. From 2002 to 2009, Wayne Barrar photographed underground sites, including power stations, underground archives, nuclear-waste stores, post-mining habitations (with office complexes, leisure spaces, and residential spaces), even a tourism facility. Devoid of people and artificially lit, his scenes have a still, alienating, otherworldly ambience. Rock faces are painted, roads paved, and furniture moved in. Culture and nature compete for prominence, as human fabrication seeks to mask the reality of location. The most uncanny shots are of Coober Pedy, a small town in Australia famous for its underground residents, where refurbished opal mines comprise urban districts, with bars, hotels, churches, and a museum.