28 Jun 2011

This content is tagged as Visual arts .


Edgy art in Bowen House exhibition space

Artists working at creative spaces from Dunedin through to Auckland will be represented in Make/Believe, an exhibition presented by Arts Access Aotearoa and opening in Parliament’s Bowen House, Wellington on 7 July.

The exhibition will be opened by the Hon. Christopher Finlayson, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage. Richard Benge, Executive Director of Arts Access Aotearoa, says Make/Believe is an opportunity for people to see the vibrant, inventive art created by New Zealand’s self-taught artists.

“Having the exhibition in Bowen House acknowledges the valuable contribution that creative spaces and self-taught artists make to New Zealand’s rich and diverse cultural identity,” he says.

Creative spaces are community arts organisations providing artistic opportunities for people with limited access to make art, and participate in music, dance, theatre and writing.

Stuart Shepherd, artist and academic, is curating the exhibition. New Zealand’s leading exponent of self-taught art, Stuart says that self-taught art (also described as outsider art) has entered the contemporary art scene, both here and overseas.

“Contemporary artists have always sought inspiration from art and objects on the edges of society … the edgy stuff,” he says. “And in recent years, collectors have also been seeking inspiration from the same source.”

What resonates today, Stuart says, is the artists’ treatment of often-recycled materials, and their particular inventiveness and imagination.

Stuart has been attending the New York Outsider Art Fair since 1991 and first hosted a New Zealand booth at the fair in 2009. He is delighted with the quality of the artworks in the show and says Make/Believe sits easily alongside other international shows of Outsider Art.

The creative spaces whose artists are participating in the exhibition are Studio 2 and Artsenta in Dunedin; Community Art Works in Nelson; Vincents Art Workshop, Alpha Art Studio and Pablos Art Studios in Wellington; Take 5 & Te Whare Marama in Lower Hutt; King Street Artworks in the Wairarapa; Sandz Gallery and Studio in Hamilton; and Spark Studio, Toi Ora Live Art Trust and Hohepa Helios in Auckland.

For Lorraine Pemberton, Sandz Gallery Manager, the smiles on the faces of its artists say it all. “The artists are very proud to have their work in the exhibition and having their work in Parliament’s Bowen House is a particularly big achievement for them.”

Arts Access Aotearoa gathered more than 250 images from creative spaces. Every image will be in the show via a continually revolving digital presentation. From these images, 30 works have been selected to be hung in the space.

The exhibition will close at the end of August.