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Art from Berlin up for viewing in Wellington

Art from Berlin up for viewing in Wellington in March

In an innovative move for a commericial art gallery in New Zealand, Wellington’s Bartley Nees Gallery is embarking on a gallery exchange with a Berlin art gallery. Art from the Spielhaus Morrison Gallery will be up for view at the Bartley Nees Gallery in March in a programme specially planned to coincide with the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

The exhibition will provide a snapshot of contemporary art practice in Berlin with the three featured artists playing with ideas around the construction and deconstruction of images. Artist Stefan Kubler dissolves and rearranging pictures and their elements utilising hundreds of postcards. Jörg Scheibe, works with randomly collected photographical material which is then distorted by computer manipulation. The new image is then painted in oil on canvas. Both of these artists will be at the opening at the Bartley Nees Gallery on March 2, 2004.

The third artist in the exhibition Norwegian photographer Mikkel McAlinden is unable to visit New Zealand because a retrospective of his work is opening in Oslo at the same time. The highly acclaimed photographer creates images that are composites of several individual photographs which are "sown" together on the computer in a meticulous and time consuming process. The images tease the medium of photography and the notion of the real.

One of the directors of the Spielhaus Morrison Gallery is expatriate New Zealander and well known tenor Hamish Morrison. Morrison, who has sung with all major New Zealand opera companies, participated in the 2002 Festival opera. Although better known as a singer than a gallerist, Morrison has long had an interest in the visual arts and has been a collector since buying his first art – some Ralph Hotere works on paper – as a school leaver in 1979. Many works in Morrison’s private collection are on loan to public art galleries.

Morrison initiated the gallery exchange as a way of allowing German art to be seen in New Zealand and New Zealand art to be seen in Berlin. In 2005, the Bartley Nees Gallery will exhibit art from its gallery in Berlin.

Images attached: Mikkel McAlinden, Condensation, 2003, colour photograph Jorg Scheibe, Terminator 5: let’s twist again like we did last summer, 2003, oil on canvas
Lots of interest in first solo commercial show for artist Wayne Youle

Wayne Youle (Nga Puhi, Ngati Whakaeke, Pakeha) is a young artist who has been attracting a lot of attention recently for his art which playfully explores New Zealand’s cultural politics and race relations. The representation of Maori culture both throughout history and in contemporary art and in popular culture is a central subject of investigation in his work. “Race, religion, kiwiana, politics, struggle, humour… I find inspiration from so many things. If you treat it with the integrity it deserves, I believe that nothing should be untouchable for an artist,” he says.

Youle, who grew up in Titahi Bay, studied at the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design and graduated in 1999. In the four years he has been exhibiting, Youle has been included in key public gallery exhibitions including the major exhibition of contemporary Maori art TechnoMaori: Maori art in the digital age at City Gallery, Wellington and Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures, Porirua in 2001-02 and Koru and Kowhaiwhai at Pataka in 2002. He has also had solo exhibitions at public galleries such as his Rated exhibition at the Michael Hirshfeld Gallery (2001) and Welcome to Maoriland at Pataka Museum (2002).

The exhibition titled Pretty Boy, opening at the Bartley Nees Gallery in Wellington on February 3, is Youle’s first solo exhibition in a commerical gallery. For this exhibition he has developed three major new bodies of work.

Twelve Shades of Bullshit explores the historical representation of Maori in New Zealand art. Twelve silhouettes have been created from illustrations of Maori by early European explorers and artists including Sydney Parkinson (who travelled with James Cook) and George French Angus. Youle discovered that “when traced and reverted into a simple outline, the forms not only change gender, but ethnicity also, with Whiteman noses, jawbones and foreheads.” He was intrigued by how this process revealed more about the way in which Europeans thought of Maori, than about Maori people themselves. The silhouettes have been painted in twelve different shades of brown from a light tan to a dark brown referencing the various skin tones of contemporary Maori after 160 years of intermarriage with other cultures.

Other work in the exhibition explores the use of Maori art forms in tourism. Youle’s art is characterised by an ongoing cheekiness and a playful investigation of some of the harder issues concerning New Zealand’s identity. Humour is refreshingly close to the surface, as he says: “you have to laugh at yourself, otherwise other people will do it for you.”

Image attached: twelve shades of bullshit, 2003, enamel on laser cut acrylic

For more information please contact Alison Bartley Bartley Nees Gallery, Tel: (04) 801 9795 or 027 4436 123

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