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You Are My Sunshine: Recent Figurative Art

Summer exhibition: "you are my sunshine"
Dec 9 - Dec 20 & Jan 6 - Jan 31
New work by John Pule, Wayne Youle, Shigeyuki Kihara, Ben Webb & James Morrison

Our summer exhibition showcases the many different modes of figuration in contemporary art practice and introduces three new artists to the gallery.

Shigeyuki Kihara is an Auckland based multimedia artist and performer who is of Samoan and Japanese descent. Recently awarded the 2003 Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Emerging Artist Award, Kihara will exhibit a series of photographic self-portraits from her "Fale Aitu/ House of Spirits" series.

In each work, Kihara has reinvented herself in different guises. As Jim Vivieaere explains in a recent article in "Object" magazine, the series "alludes to the Samoan comedic skits that are performed by males at festive occasions. The character of the performer becomes possessed by a spirit, and takes on a range of gendered personas. Kihara has used herself as the object in these works. Photographic portraits are morphed into different characters of her construction and fantasy."

James Morrison is an Australian painter based outside Sydney. He paints intricate fantasy landscapes in extreme detail. His work was featured in the Auckland Art Gallery¹s triennial exhibition Bright Paradise. You are my sunshine gives New Zealand audiences a chance to view his most recent painting. "The Council" and "Plotting" are quirky, animated and imaginative scenes.

Ben Webb has been painting figures and portraits since his first exhibition in Dunedin ten years ago. Arts writer David Eggleton has described Webb as an "anatomist of the human conditionŠ converting the dross of media overkill into fine-spun art". Webb has recently been based in Berlin, and will next year be living and painting in Argentina. His imagery is drawn from print and film media, anonymous and enigmatic faces, using a rare technique of oil and manganese pigment on canvas and paper.

The exhibition also features work by John Pule and Wayne Youle. Pule will be showing a new suite of six drawings, which reference his acclaimed love poetry, recent red cloud paintings and put a spin on the interpretation of the exhibition¹s namesake "you are my sunshine". Wayne Youle has now been showing at the gallery for fifteen months and will be having his first solo show with us in February. For our summer exhibition he will show three new digital photographs of plastic dolls. He promises that they will be "cheekily erotic".

In the office space / open stockroom

While you are my sunshine is on show in the main gallery space, we will also be exhibiting vintage figurative photographic work by Anne Noble and work from Fiona Pardington¹s acclaimed One Night of Love series in the office space.

Details of attached image:

Shigeyuki Kihara

"Aitu" from the series "Fale Aitu/ House of Spirits"

digital photograph


(in collaboration with Sean Coyle)


Bartley Nees Gallery 147 Cuba Street, Wellington Opening hours: Tuesday - Friday 11am - 5.30pm, Saturday 11am - 3pm Phone: 04 801 9795 Check out our website at

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