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Theory of Everything at City Gallery

Theory of Everything at City Gallery

From Save the
Whale/The Great Pacific Ocean Rubbish Patch Recreation, Amy
Howden-Chapman, 2006, Courtesy of the artist.
Click to enlarge

From Save the Whale/The Great Pacific Ocean Rubbish Patch Recreation, Amy Howden-Chapman, 2006, Courtesy of the artist.


The elusive Theory of Everything is a mathematical formula which makes sense of all systems at play in the physical world. An Introduction to the Theory of Everything, curated by Jessica Reid, marries the everyday with ideas of the fantastical, theoretical and the metaphysical. Four emerging Wellington artists demonstrate their own various, DIY approaches to investigating some of the world’s big phenomena.

Amy Howden-Chapman’s video work documents her attempts to re-create the mysterious phenomenon known as the North Pacific Gyre—a massive swirling whirlpool in the North Pacific ocean. Howden-Chapman extended an open-call to the public to represent the rubbish which floats in the gyre, by running in organised formation around a field. The event and its record by WETA cameramen hope to highlight the scale of this phenomenon and investigate the role multiple participants can have in an artwork’s creation. Howden-Chapman’s inclusive approach reflects her belief that environmental issues can only be tackled by society’s collective involvement.

Bronwyn Smith is also concerned with re-creating the natural world. In Armada Smith explores the topical breakaway icebergs drifting towards New Zealand's southern coastline. Smith re-creates them by covering household objects with fabric and subsequently rendering their shadowy forms on canvas.

Amit Charan, too, is preoccupied with visible and invisible phenomena, which he investigates through a series of performances. In Think Tank Charan probes his interest in imaging the shape of an abstract thought pattern through EEG (or Electroencephalography), a form of brain scanning.

Rachel O’Neill has a longstanding attraction to the idea of Black Holes. Her installation uses the humble household black rubbish bag to represent these entities. O’Neill has set up a blog site for viewers to post their responses to spam e-mails which have fascinated her recently. Responses can be viewed and added to at Grappling with concepts of space, time and infinity, O’Neill locates questions of quantum mechanics into our daily lives.

Amit Charan was born in Fiji in 1984. He was a finalist in the Waikato National Contemporary Art Awards (2005).

Amy Howden-Chapman stages performances as part of Raised by Wolves. She took part in touring exhibition Old Habits Die Hard, organised by the Sparwasser Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2004-2005).

Rachel O'Neill was a finalist in the 13th Annual Wallace Art Awards in late 2004. She exhibited in Hallways of Lives at Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington (2006).

Bronwyn Smith’s first solo exhibition Wildlife was at Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington (2006).

An Introduction to the Theory of Everything
Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington
21 December 2006—11 February 2007

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery is proudly sponsored by DesignWorks Enterprise IG. Thanks also to Resolution Print, Colourcraft; and Publication and Design, Wellington City Council.


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