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Immerse yourself in art at the Govett-Brewster

09 March 2011

Immerse yourself in art at the Govett-Brewster

Visitors to New Plymouth for WOMAD in March will have the chance to interact with art in a new exhibition that explores the senses and expands multi-cultural connections at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

From donning a specially printed suit and climbing inside Brook Andrew’s (Australian/Wiradjuri) large scale inflatable installation The Cell, to observing ritual offerings of richly scented incense powders, spices and roses petals as part of New Zealand artist Tiffany Singh’s Einstein was a Buddhist, the exhibition offers avenues of sensory encounters.

Stealing the Senses is an international group exhibition that offers immersive environments which will stimulate the senses.

Included in the exhibition is Eden, a digital eco-system created by Jon McCormack (Australia) that responds to viewers and evolves. In a rarely used stairwell Almost Always Everywhere Apparent (II), by leading Australian sound, video and installation artists Sonia Leber and David Chesworth, will challenge and intrigue.

“We know that audiences appreciate the best of local and international performances at WOMAD and Stealing the Senses offers a parallel experience in the visual art with artists from Thailand, Germany, Italy, The Philippines, China, the UK, the US, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand,” exhibition curator and gallery director Rhana Devenport said.

“The exhibition is both playful and challenging and offers audiences concentrated experiences which will activate sensory perception in unexpected ways and unfamiliar places in the gallery,” Ms Devenport said.

Specially commissioned for the exhibition is a new collaborative work by New Zealand artist Francis Upritchard, Italian furniture designer Martino Gamper and Wellington based German jeweller Karl Fritsch.

Francis, Martino and Karl have been working together through a summer residency in New Plymouth to create a domestic setting with a twist. Martino’s furniture reuses and restyles classic New Zealand Formica furniture while Francis and Karl have been working with local textile and ceramic craftspeople as part of the installation.

Continuing the theme of local and international collaboration, Filipino artists Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan’s work, Passage, was created through local community workshops. Inspired by true and invented Maori and Pacific stories of migration to New Zealand, the husband and wife team worked with Taranaki groups to transform recycled cardboard boxes into waka and boats. Visitors to the gallery will be able to make their own waka to add to the exhibition.

New Zealand artist Sara Hughes has used bold graphics, bright colours and repeated patterns to completely transform the gallery’s cafe in a work called The Golden Grain. Sara used data from historical wheat production in Taranaki and global changes to traditional food usage and economics as the basis of the graphics. A limited edition of Sara Hughes plates will be available at the gallery’s Art and Design Shop.

“Sara’s use of the pie-chart as her main design theme is completely appropriate for the cafe setting,” Ms Devenport said.

In the gallery’s window is Breast Stupa Cookery, an installation by Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak, who worked with bakers from the Parihaka Maori community to create a performance cookery project. Video of the project as well as video from the opening night outdoor smoke and light projection by New York based Jennifer Wen Ma will play in the gallery throughout the exhibition.

Completing the exhibition is a new site-specific work by New Zealand artist John Ward Knox, and two works from the gallery’s permanent collection by New Zealander Anton Parsons and Australian Callum Morton.

A selection of Len Lye films will screen throughout the weekend in the gallery’s theatre.

As the WOMAD weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for the gallery, it will extend its opening time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday by one hour from 10am to 9am.

The exhibition is open until Queens Birthday, June 6.

Concurrently showing at the gallery is Dane Mitchell: Radiant Matter Part1.

Dane Mitchell, the Gallery's New Zealand Artist in Residence engages with the concept of the 'vaporous', as suspended in the air, in a state between matter and gas. Working with a perfumer in Spain and a glass-blower in New Zealand, Mitchell plays with making the intangible tangible and the possibilities of perfume's ability to fill space sculpturally. The exhibition is curated by Mercedes Vicente.

Visit the gallery’s website for more details including the extensive public programme throughout the exhibitions.

Stealing the Senses - 12 March–6 June 2011
Dane Mitchell: Radiant Matter Part - 1 5 March–29 May 2011


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