10 exhibitions not to be missed in May
In May, Warren Feeney looks forward to an exhibition on returning home or to places we care about, an 11-minute film in te reo Māori that spans time, place and generations, and a new public mural with a larger than life presence.
Richard McWhannell, More Miles Than Money, PGgallery 192, 192 Bealey Avenue. For five decades, Richard McWhannell has upended our certainties and our assumptions about just about everything. Outwardly the subjects of his paintings are figures and landscapes, but McWhannell penetrates beneath the outward appearances, each painting seeming to discover its subjects anew. More Miles Than Money is no exception, McWhannell’s fragmented vision of a world both familiar and unfamiliar, inviting us to look – and look again. May 17-June 17
Amy Couling, MIYAKO, Shop 9, Cathedral Junction, 109 Worcester St. Based in Ōtautahi, Amy Couling’s Miyako (京) exhibition takes its name from Kyoto, the former capital that is also her hometown in Japan. Couling reflects on the ongoing pandemic, the lack of his family and friends, and the desire to be back in a specific place or a second home at a world’s fair in his feeling and attitude towards returning to home or in places that are dear to us. May 17-June 5
Irenie How, Skin Starving, Art Hole, 336 St Asaph St. Drawing attention to the nature of our complex relationships with the possibilities of digital technology and the worlds it promises, Irenie How critiques, embraces and negates the promises of its results. The world and characters of Skin Starving are characterized by a confronting and questioning presence, raucous confessionals, and shrewd stunt doubles aware of their status as both insiders and outsiders. May 11-14
Jeremy Leatinuʻu Te Whakawhitinga, The Physics Room, 301 Montreal St, The Arts Center Te Matatiki Toi Ora. An 11-minute film commissioned by The Physics Room and directed by Jeremy Leatinu’u, Te Whakawhitinga is rich, thoughtful cinema. The film’s narrative is in te reo Māori, following the story of a young man leaving his home in the Far North. At the heart of his experience are his complex narratives, spanning time, place and generations, through multiple voices as his traveler journeys South. April 29-June 3
Stephen Bambury, either/or/and, NMG, 141 Cambridge Terrace. For more than four decades, Stephen Bambury’s geometric abstract paintings have focused their attention on the circle, the cross and the square. Yet that is only part of his story. The outward austerity of previous and current exhibitions, on the surface, counteracts our attention to experiencing the materials of his work and its capacity as a medium for stories about humanity and our philosophies. Bambury’s work is, indeed, concerned with the very substance of being. April 29-May 29
Julia Holderness, The Studio, The National, 249 Moorhouse Avenue. Artist and art historian Julia Holderness creates real and imagined stories about New Zealand art. Her collective exhibition, The Studio, reveals and celebrates the story of three female artists: Doris Lusk, Anne Hamblett and Mollie Lawn. Taking up space in their 1930s art studio in Dunedin, Holderness is also inviting the Dunedin Group to expand their new curated exhibition with current contemporary local artists: Julia Holden, Kirstin Carlin, Richard Orjis and Tatyanna Meharry. May 4-June 4
Xoë Hall, Kuīni of the Worlds, 2022, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū Bunker, Montreal St. Illustrator Xoë Hall faced a tough challenge as the artist chosen to follow Jess Johnson, Genetekker Archaic, provided the new public mural on the outside bunker of the Christchurch Art Gallery on Montreal Street. the gallery’s most important public space, the larger-than-life Hall’s have absolute control of the site, with an equally larger-than-life presence, joyful in their welcome to all.
Ellie Gray, CHristCHurch, Chambers Gallery, 80 Durham Street, Sydenham. Ellie Gray’s paintings reconsider architectural structures and buildings that are spatially ambiguous and uninhabitable, yet remain a consistently fascinating encounter. His exhibition CHristCHurch, presents a series of architectural plans and studies of church buildings, visually deceptive but welcoming, serving as an introduction to the paradoxical nature of his subjects; the three-dimensional structures on two-dimensional surfaces representing an entry point to imaginary but believable worlds. May 11-28
Francis van Hout, Wry Thinker, City Art Depot, 96 Disraeli St, Sydenham. Wry Thinker is the title of Francis van Hout’s new exhibition at the City Art Depot and also one of his oil paintings on canvas. A first encounter with the artist’s titles for each of his exhibitions and works is often positioned between their neutrality of meaning and their thoughtful, evocative and understated possibilities, all equally sharing the stage, seemingly unassuming – yet central to his practice. . May 24-June 13
Nicola Thorne, Women of the Peninsula, Stoddart Cottage Gallery, 2 Waipapa Avenue, Diamond Harbour. Charteris Bay photographer Nicola Thorne’s Peninsula Women brings together women represented by a range of professions, ages and locations. As a documentary photographer, it would be wrong to assume that Peninsula Women is characterized by fundamental objectivity for such images. Rather, the exhibition’s authority resides in its subjects and the diversity of roles and contexts they represent. Peninsula Women is a rich and enriching exhibition. May 6-29