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MTG Hawke’s Bay soon to open new suite of exhibitions

MTG Hawke’s Bay soon to open new suite of exhibitions

Image credit: Bronwynne Cornish, Standing Figures (detail). Image: David Frost, MTG Hawke’s Bay.

A major exhibition of one of New Zealand’s foremost ceramic artists will open at MTG Hawke’s Bay next month.
Mudlark, a celebration of the life and work of ceramic sculptor Bronwynne Cornish, will see the museum’s upper floor be taken over by sphinxes, temples, cats and birds as it hosts the largest survey of Cornish’s work ever shown in New Zealand.

The exhibition, which runs between 29 March and 24 August, heralds the first major change of shows for MTG Hawke’s Bay since its opening in 21 September 2013. It replaces the popular show Architecture of the heart in the upper floor galleries.

MTG Director Douglas Lloyd Jenkins says Bronwynne Cornish has strong ties to Hawke’s Bay, having being raised here as a child so it is fitting this major exhibition opens in her former stomping ground.

“We are very fortunate to have worked with Bronwynne to develop this exhibition and celebrate her important position in the development of contemporary New Zealand art, in particular a life devoted to clay,” Mr Lloyd Jenkins, says.

“The show is hugely impressive and I’m very proud of it. It confirms MTG’s growing reputation as a museum and gallery of excellence. We’ve already been approached by other galleries in New Zealand who have shown interest in this MTG curated show, which is a testament to the calibre of our curators.”

Cornish first discovered clay in the 1960s and has worked with it ever since. Her distinctive figurative works carry a strong sense of both their material and maker; pushing boundaries and perceptions of both contemporary craft and sculpture.

The exhibition brings together the most significant group of her earthenware figures ever to be assembled. From their various homes around the country, baa birds, sphinxes, temples and cats come together to showcase Cornish’s impressive body of work. It covers work from the period 1982 – 2013.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication written by MTG Curator of Design Collections Lucy Hammonds, with contributions from Alexa Johnson and Denis O’Connor. It includes a major photographic essay by photographers Deborah Smith and Mark Smith, which chronicles the ‘secret lives’ of Cornish’s works within the homes of key collectors.

In conjunction with Mudlark two smaller exhibitions will occupy the upper floor of MTG at the same time - The Transmogrifier Machine where contemporary furniture designer Katy Wallace turns ordinary old furniture into modified extraordinary pieces, and Land Marks two large scale sculptures from the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust collection.

During the significant change over of exhibitions between 2 -28 March, the upper floor galleries will be unavailable for viewing. Reduced entry charge of $5.00 will be available during this time, but visitors will be able to enjoy the range of other exhibitions including the 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake, Take these with you when you leave – Treasures of the archive and Ukaipo – o tatou whakapapa.

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