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Ghosts And Vibrant Vinyl In Sculpture Court

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Wednesday 20 July 2005

Ghosts And Vibrant Vinyl In Outdoor Sculpture Court At Te Papa

Te Papa is delighted to showcase two new works, I Maybe We by Mikala Dwyer and Wish you were here by Sara Hughes, in the Sculpture Court, Level 6, opening on Saturday 30 July.

These strong contemporary works have been commissioned by Te Papa specifically for the Sculpture Court, an outdoor environment for sculpture on the top floor of the museum. The artists created these works in the context of the architecture of the site, the geographic location of Te Papa with its dramatic views of the city and harbour, and the diverse weather elements to which the works would be exposed to, thereby integrating art and the environment.

This is only the second time the Sculpture Court has launched new works.

‘These two new works really inhabit the spaces, each taking a radically different interpretation of the environment. On the one hand, childlike sketches of ghosts are realised in three dimensions; on the other, an all-encompassing installation embraces bold synthetic modernism,’ said Curator Natasha Conland.

Mikala Dwyer - I Maybe We

A senior Australian contemporary artist and the 2004 recipient of the Samstag award, Mikala Dwyer presents a new work I Maybe We for the inner courtyard. The work casts in fibreglass twenty-five enigmatic forms resembling clusters of ghosts, spirits or totems settling in the space.

The eyes of these ghosts are open holes, allowing visitors to imagine looking through their eyes and minds, gaining the spirits’ perspective. The ghost forms hint at Celtic signposts or Aboriginal totems for the dead. The work plays on humanity’s relationship to nature and death and mortality. What first seems playful gradually takes on more ominous and philosophical issues.

These forms have been developed by Dwyer over many years of experimentation with ideas of superstition, memory, and vertigo within architectural and museum spaces. In particular she explores how contemporary culture uses – or might use – objects to engage the spirit. She writes: ‘A ghost could be thought of as a solid absence, a memory, a trace, a projection. They could also be thought of as messengers from one dimension to another, a bridge from this life to an afterlife, a superstition or a fact from/of life.

Sara Hughes - Wish you were here

Sara Hughes has quickly gained attention for her explosive use of colour and pattern in vinyl installations. Wish you were here is new site-specific work made using the existing structure of the balcony and its glass panels. It includes small viewing slots randomly cut out of the vinyl to offer ‘postcard’ views of Wellington Harbour, the city and surrounds.

The work alters the nature of this view, asking the viewer to interact with the work in order to look out from the confines of the museum into the harbour. She writes: ‘I am interested in vision, how people see and what they see.’

Hughes has had an ongoing interest in exploring the use of vinyl as a substitute for paint, a new material that allows colour to inhabit unusual locations. Her machine cut vinyl forms are painted and then transferred to the floor or wall surface in a process a little like applying wallpaper. As the vinyl is only a few microns thick (thinner than a human hair), its flexibility allows it to both mould to the shape of a surface, and also allow the grain and texture of the surface to show and become part of the work.

The colour coordinated seating allows the painted walls to integrate with the total environment of the space.

I Maybe We by Mikala Dwyer, 2005. Cast fibreglass and steel.
Wish you were here by Sara Hughes, 2005. Vinyl, painted concrete and postcards.
Saturday 30 July 2005 to January 2006
Sculpture Court, Level 6
Free entry.

ENDS

Artists Biography

Mikala Dwyer is one of the pre-eminent Australian sculptors of our time. Currently the recipient of the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, 2004, in 2003 she was included in Still Life, 2003, the exhibition of contemporary Australian Sculpture at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 2003 she was also included in the major international review of Australian Sculpture Face Up, at the Nationalgalerie, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. Dwyer has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally since the early eighties. She is also included in major collections of contemporary art in both Australia and New Zealand.

Sara Hughes resides in Auckland. She recently spent a year in Dunedin as Otago University’s 2003 Frances Hodgkins Fellow. Her Digital Mosaics shown at the Hocken Library’s Gallery in February 2004 was a summation of her year’s work in Dunedin. She was recently included in the major review of contemporary New Zealand art Telecom Prospect 2004, New Art New Zealand, City Gallery Wellington in partnership with the Adam Art Gallery, New Zealand Film Archive and Massey University. In 2004 her work was shown at the Melbourne Art Fair, and in 2005 at the Rotterdam Art Fair. She is the Norsewear Art Award winner, 2D for 2005. Her work is held in public and private collections in New Zealand and Australia. She is represented by Gow Langsford Gallery in Auckland and Bartley Nees Gallery in Wellington.

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