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Emma Febvre-Richards Exhibition Now Open

'Behind the Seen'
Emma Febvre-Richards
8 June - 14 July 2002
360 Programme at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery

What is a painting - a window into an illusionary 3D space? A piece of portable wall hung on a wall? These are some of the ideas Emma Febvre-Richards is exploring in her exhibition Behind the Seen, which has just opened at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery. And to realise these ideas, she enlisted the help of a number of Wellington specialist firms and services not normally associated with the business of making art.

In Behind the Seen, she has created a 'second skin' for the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery by constructing large-scale white plaster cast walls within the walls of the Gallery. Integrated at knee level along the length of the walls are moulded canvases. "I like the ambiguity this creates, so that you are not sure whether it is a painting, sculpture or an installation," says Febvre-Richards.

"I am using all the conventional ingredients of painting in this work, such as pigment, support, surface, space, frame, edges, height and placement. But I'm blurring the boundaries in order to explore the assumptions we make about what a painting is. At the same time, I'm also exploring the similarities between painting and architecture."

Febvre-Richards worked with staff from Biggins Interiors to make the plaster walls. The project also incorporates transparent fibreglass panels - again playing on the idea of how paintings reveal other spaces. These panels were made by Upper Hutt company Almac. Febvre-Richards worked with Rob Uivel, of Human Dynamo, who has worked extensively in moulding and modelmaking for TV. She also received support and sponsorship from Geoff Oliver at Electropar, Plaster Warehouse, and Massey University.

Some of the technicians she worked with were used to working with artists and designers but her project posed challenges, especially for the plaster workers. "I didn't want the plaster forms to have a pristine surface and finish, and this is what they are used to creating for most of their clients," says Febvre-Richards. "It took some encouragement for them to let the plaster show its own individuality rather than control it."

Emma Febvre-Richards will give an illustrated talk on Behind the Seen and previous work on Thursday 20 June at 6pm, in the City Cinema, City Gallery Wellington. Emma Febvre-Richards has been exhibiting her work in the UK, France and New Zealand since 1990. Her work featured in Practising Beauty, (Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, July - August 2000). Behind the Seen is presented within the 360 programme - a full perspective on Wellington Art - which is generously sponsored by Designworks. Generously supported by Montana Wines Ltd and Ruth Pretty Catering. Additional sponsors: Massey University, Electropar, Plaster Warehouse. City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding from the Wellington City Council.

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