Art, Art, Art!

by Robyn on March 26, 2010

So, right now there’s a whole lot of really good stuff being exhibited in Wellington’s galleries.

City Gallery

After the hugely successful Yayoi Kusama exhibition turned the gallery into a magical wonderland, the main gallery space has now been given over to three also wonderful artists.

More after the jump. 

Canadian artist Janet Cardiff‘s work Forty Part Motet fills a room with 40 speakers, each with an individual recording of a member of a choir performing Spem in Alium Nunquam Habui, a 40-part motet composed in Renaissance times. It’s a full-on, immersive experience.

"Trans-Form: The Abstract Art of Milan Mrkusich" looks at the abstract works of Milan Mrkusich. He’s a significant New Zealand artist, and the collection takes not a retrospective theme, but looks at the way he’s dealt with abstract art. And he’s dealt with it good and proper.

The upstairs space is dedicated to works by Seraphine Pick from 1994 to 2009. She paints lovely girls, dreamy scenes, strange worlds, and things that look ordinary but reveal twisted depths on closer examination.

The Hirschfeld Gallery features "Furthur Convictions Pending" a collection by four Wellington artists, Andrew Beck, Sarah Maxey, Douglas Stichbury and Tim Thatcher, including the bold hand-lettering of Maxey snaking across the gallery wall, threatening to start a fight and/or burst into tears.

The New Dowse

Over in the Hutt, Bill Viola‘s video work "The Messenger" is a mesmerising film of a fellow sinking and rising in a body of water. This is a great work and even better to experience it in the New Dowse, feeling almost church-like in its setting.

Seung Yul Oh (whose chicken-eggs were seen last year rocking in Te Papa’s sculpture terrace), has "Bogle Bogle", a full exhibition of his colourful, shiny playful works. They’re begging to be played with, but the New Dowse aren’t having any of that, thank you.

"Drawing Conclusions" is a collection of works by New Zealand artists Ralph Hotere, Colin McCahon, Don Peebles and Gordon Walters, showing not just the works, but the sketches and ideas that were behind them.

And closing soon but worth a visit is "Long Live The Modern", celebrating the new architecture of the 20th century – all those concrete buildings that we’re slowly coming to appreciate. Wellington has its fair share of Modern gems, many of which are featured in the exhibition.

And jeweller Lisa Walker has "Unwearable" a collection of unwearable jewellery, strangely resembling the sort of stuff that’s profiled on Regretsy. "I would not wear that," a small girl commented to her dad. Well, yeah.

Te Papa

Our national gallery features the New Zealand contribution to the 2009 Venice BiennaleJudy Millar‘s Giraffe-Bottle-Gun and and Francis Upritchard’s Save Yourself.

Millar’s work is giant and bold, huge canvases, lazing around in the gallery, while Upritchard’s has delicately sculptured but strangely grotesque figures.

The traveling Anne Frank biography exhibition always seems to have a larger audience than this once, which is a pity because it’s a privilege to have this on our doorstep.

Adam Art Gallery

And the Adam is dedicated to "Drawing With Light", cinematic works by Anthony McCall. He reduces film to its basic element – light. In rooms filled with theatrical smoke, films are projected, allowing us to see not just the thin white lines projected on to a surface, but also the space between, illuminated by the smoky air.

It’s a really fun experience, and you can pretend you’re in an ’80s night club or maybe you’re travelling through a vortex into another dimension. Woooo!

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