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New Exhibition On At Bartley Nees Gallery

Now on show at Bartley Nees Gallery

Brett Graham "Canoes of Oceania" - new sculpture Until 6 December 2003

Brett Graham is one of New Zealand¹s most exciting sculptors, highly regarded for his ability to abstract complex historical ideas into formally strong and beautiful sculptural forms. Following his highly successful and powerful exhibition at Victoria University¹s Adam Art Gallery exploring the exploitation of Banaba Atoll, we are delighted to be able to present "Canoes of Oceania".

"Canoes of Oceania" brings together an interest in Maori, New Zealand and Pacific history with contemporary popular culture. The seven wooden sculptural pieces in the exhibition references the myth of the arrival of Maori in Aotearoa by the seven canoes. These are contemporary waka ­ highly sophisticated flying machines both real and imaginary. One vessel, titled "Flying Arawa" refers to Temuera Morrison¹s role in the Star Wars movie "The Attack of the Clones".

Two of the sculptural pieces in the exhibition are disc-shaped carved pieces ­ a form which has recurred frequently throughout Graham¹s career. In this exhibition, however, they take on new meanings and seem to hover in space like flying saucers or UFOs. The concentric circles in "Rapanui Raider" which come together to form a spiral centre have appeared in earlier work and the spiral can be interpreted as a symbol of time and space. As with many of the titles of the works in this exhibition, "Rapanui Raider" gives a clue to some of the conceptual background to the work: here Graham alludes to the theories of Arthur C. Clark who is famous for suggesting that the impressive structures on Rapanui / Easter Island were created by aliens.

Another work is called "Invisible Robinson" and makes reference to Peter Robinson¹s "Divine Comedy" installation in the 2001 Venice Biennale. In the centre of "Divine Comedy" in Venice there was a black model of a stealth bomber which never made it back to the subsequent New Zealand tours of the show.

Since his last exhibition here three years ago, Brett has been very busy with a year in Switzerland, teaching at the Elam School of Fine Arts and range of public exhibitions and commissions. We are excited to be able to present such fresh new work from this leading sculptor.

Details of attached image:

Brett Graham "Rapanui Raider" (2003) wood, stain, wax 900 diameter x 180 mm

-- 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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