Old and new on display

18:42, Nov 26 2012

Opening on Saturday at the Govett-Brewster in New Plymouth is Singular Companions: Sculpture from the Collection (December 1, 2012-January 27, 2013).

This exhibition presents works that are either new to the Govett- Brewster collection or have not been on display for many years.

Sculptural form is foremost in this exhibition, with works that are cast, assembled, recycled, woven, thrown, carved, welded, hand-formed or illuminated. The artists from New Zealand and overseas use a wide variety of materials from drift nets, beeswax and timber to copper, ceramic, neon, marble, steel and fibreglass, through to re-purposed plastic bottles and sound.

The Govett-Brewster Collection began in the 1960s, before the gallery's 1970 opening, and continues to expand. It is a modest yet significant collection with an emphasis on contemporary art from New Zealand and the Pacific that reflects the focused attention of subsequent directors. Collection strengths include conceptual and abstract art from the 1970s and 1980s, with recent expansions in its photographic, Maori and Pacific holdings.

Govett-Brewster director Rhana Devenport says more than 20 works from the collection are grouped as new companions in each of the five rooms.

"The works explore discrete ideas and material concerns including repurposed materials, illumination, domestic ciphers, social customs, the containment of memory, measure, weight and weightlessness," Ms Devenport says. "The exhibition spans more than four decades of making and registers each artist's particular sculptural interests. These differ markedly, from the feminist concerns of Mary-Louise Browne to the environmental considerations of Andrew Drummond and Laurelle Pookamelya, from Filipe Tohi's complex patterned abstraction to the investigation of perception by Paul Hartigan and Neil Dawson."

Artworks are by artists Mary- Louise Browne, Bill Culbert, Neil Dawson, Don Driver, Andrew Drummond, Karl Fritsch and Gavin Hipkins, Paul Hartigan, Christine Hellyar, John Ward Knox, Laurelle Pookamelya, Lisa Reihana, Peter Robinson, Filipe Tohi, Lauren Winstone and Yin Xiuzhen.

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