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Winter Season of Wellington Art at City Gallery

Winter Season of Wellington Art at City Gallery

Come in from the cold with City Gallery Wellington’s Winter Season of Wellington Art. The season brings together two major Wellington artists and a special Wellington collection.

Elizabeth Thomson—my hi- fi my sci- fi collates some of Wellington sculptor Elizabeth Thomson’s largest, most audacious creations of the past twenty years. This exhibition highlights the perplexing, beautiful, sometimes disturbing, often dazzling work of one of Wellington’s leading contemporary artists.

This retrospective, curated by Gregory O’Brien, will be the largest presentation of works by Elizabeth Thomson to date. The exhibition includes around thirty works, ranging from Thomson’s small, precious arrangements of moths to her dizzying, wall-sized leaf-works.

Since the late 1980s, Thomson has been fascinated with the formal qualities and imaginative potentials she finds in nature. She pays particular attention to plants, insects and molecular structures. The works themselves explore and embody natural processes of migration (a school of fishes), growth (plant-forms), regeneration (trees) and other natural phenomena. The exhibition focuses on key works from throughout the artist’s career, charting the movement or migration of forms and meanings through her work as a whole.

Movement and migration are key ideas in the work of octogenarian art statesman Guy Ngan. The Stokes Valley-based artist has been making sculptures, paintings, drawings and prints for the last sixty years. His abstract public sculptures are peppered through cities and towns all over New Zealand; murals, wall reliefs, tiled decorative schemes, large textile works and in-the-round sculptures. These works are seen every day by thousands of people, often with little recognition of who they are by and how significant a practice they represent.

Guy Ngan-Journey: Aluminium Panel, Tiki Hands and Anchor Stones is a taster to his diverse practices and includes work from two series made during the 1970s and 80s—paintings featuring a three-fingered tiki hand motif and sculptures inspired by Polynesian stone anchors. Both series are representative of Ngan’s ongoing interest in the early settlement of the Pacific and visual and linguistic points of connection between Asiatic and Polynesian peoples.

These domestic-scale works are joined by a large cast aluminium public relief sculpture, the 1973 Newton Post Office Mural. A major figure in New Zealand modernism and abstraction, noted across the fields of architecture, design and visual art, Guy Ngan continues to draw upon his Chinese-New Zealand heritage and maintain a strong investigation of New Zealand as a Pacific nation.

Dr Ian Prior is another octogenarian who continues to make a massive contribution to Wellington. Luncheon Under the Ash Tree presents the art collection of this committed Wellingtonian and his late wife Elespie.

Frontseat, like many others, rates Prior as one of New Zealand’s top five arts patrons. Among other endeavours, the distinguished anti-nuclear activist is a founding member of the Wellington Sculpture Trust and also serves the National Library, on the Lilburn Residence Trust and the Sounz Centre for Contemporary Music.

Together the Priors’ amassed a significant and deeply personal art collection, spanning over fifty years in the making. Showcasing such major names as Colin McCahon, Toss Woollaston, Ralph Hotere, John Drawbridge and Evelyn Page the collection arose from the Priors’ support and passion for New Zealand art and through their personal friendships with many artists. Many of the works have intriguing, touching, amusing stories.

City Gallery Wellington Director, Paula Savage says: “City Gallery Wellington is committed to Wellington art, and we’re proud and thrilled to have artists and art of this calibre to showcase.”

The Winter Season of Wellington Art
City Gallery Wellington, Sunday 18 June – 24 September 2006

Elizabeth Thomson - my hi-fi my sci-fi

Generously supported by City Gallery Wellington Foundation Patrons.

Guy Ngan-Journey: Aluminium Panel, Tiki Hands and Anchor Stones

Luncheon Under the Ash Tree: The Ian and Elespie Prior Collection

Exhibition developed and toured by Aratoi – Wairapapa Museum of art and history. With the support of BWX, Masterton District Council, Masterton Lands Trust and Willi Fels Foundation.


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