10 must-see exhibitions at level 2 in September

With Canterbury now on Alert Level 2, Warren Feeney looks forward to seeing the work of a local artist showcased at the Sydney Biennale in 2020, as well as an artist exhibiting in Christchurch for the first time after 40 years of painting. He is also impressed with the region’s commitment to textiles and crafts.

Kulimoe'anga Stone Maka, Kuini Haati 2 (Two Queen Heart) and Toga mo Bolata'ane (Tonga and Great Britain), 2008-10.  Oil, clay, dye on tapa canvas.  Installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.  Courtesy of the artist.  Photography: John Collie

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Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka, Kuini Haati 2 (Two Queen Heart) and Toga mo Bolata’ane (Tonga and Great Britain), 2008-10. Oil, clay, dye on tapa canvas. Installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. Courtesy of the artist. Photography: John Collie

1. Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka: Toga mo Bolata ‘ane, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, corner of Worcester Blvd and Montreal St.

Tongan / Christchurch artist Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka was one of six artists representing Aotearoa at the Sydney Biennale in 2020. Biennale curator Brook Andrew visited Maka in early 2020, selecting two ngatu’uli paintings ( blackened tapa fabric): Toga mo Bolata’ane (Tonga and Great Britain), 2008 – 2010 and Kuini Haati 2 (Two Queen Hearts), 2008. And now, the people of Christchurch can finally experience the powerful works of the Maka Biennale and their childhood memories of Tonga and Britain. September 11 – January 16, 2022

Andy Leleisi'uao, Umbilical Brown III, 2021, acrylic on canvas (PGgallery192)

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Andy Leleisi’uao, Umbilical Brown III, 2021, acrylic on canvas (PGgallery192)

2. Spring Selection, PGgallery192, 192 Bealey Ave.

Spring Selection brings together works by established and emerging New Zealand artists, from Philippa Blair and Ralph Hotere to Andy Leleisi’uao, including Rebecca Harris and Vivienne Murchison. Among the many highlights is that of Leleisi’uao Umbilical III, a recent work as political as it is elegant and confronting, its babies in free fall, encircling letters of the Samoan alphabet. Leleisi’uao observes, “lose the language, lose the culture”. From September 8 to 24.

Elizabeth Thomson, The Sleeping Giant, Dusky Canyon, 2019 glass spheres, optically transparent epoxy resin, water-based insulation, cast vinyl, lacquer on profiled and shaped wood panel.  Image courtesy of the artist and the Central Gallery.  (Ashburton Art Gallery)

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Elizabeth Thomson, The Sleeping Giant, Dusky Canyon, 2019 glass spheres, optically transparent epoxy resin, water-based insulation, cast vinyl, lacquer on profiled and shaped wood panel. Image courtesy of the artist and the Central Gallery. (Ashburton Art Gallery)

3. Elizabeth Thomson, Cellular Memory, Ashburton Art Gallery, 327 West St.

Organized by writer / artist Gregory O’Brien, Cellular memory is a traveling exhibition encompassing three decades of Elizabeth Thomson’s artistic practice. It is a magnificent exhibition. Ashburton Art Gallery adds fire to its magic with a new series of works by the artist, Lateral theories. O’Brien describes it as “conceptually and in terms of its materials … moving into uncharted, hitherto unimaginable territory”. August 14 – October 24.

Philip Beadle, Carlton Mill, 2020, oil on canvas board (Art box)

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Philip Beadle, Carlton Mill, 2020, oil on canvas board (Art box)

4. Ten by tens. A decade at Art Box, 1/16 Loftus St, Papanui.

Opened as a studio for artist Beverley Frost in 2004, Art Box gained a new identity after the earthquakes of 2011 as an exhibition gallery of local artists. Art Box was one of the first galleries to open after the earthquake and Ten by tens celebrates its tenth anniversary in a group show, featuring numerous artists, including Philip Beadle, Ruth Killoran and Melanie Hammet. All works measure ‘ten by ten inches’ (25x25cm). Opening September 12.

Zina Swanson, Pine Eyes, 2021, acrylic and gesso on linen (Jonathan Smart Gallery)

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Zina Swanson, Pine Eyes, 2021, acrylic and gesso on linen (Jonathan Smart Gallery)

5. Zina Swanson, Strange Pomander, Jonathan Smart Gallery, 52 Buchan St, Sydenham.

In Strange pomander, Zina Swanson draws our attention to how we tame the natural world as if it were one of our own. Strange pomander (a scented herb ball used to ward off “unpleasant” smells) serves as a metaphor for such relationships, reframing the subjects of her work as objects, serving as windows to look through, as exquisite as foreign in a country strange. September 9 – October 2.

Marilyn Hopkins, Quilt, 2020 (Stoddart Cottage)

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Marilyn Hopkins, Quilt, 2020 (Stoddart Cottage)

6. Bays Harbor Quilting Group, Spring Quilting Collection, Stoddart Cottage Gallery, 2 Waipapa Ave, Diamond Harbor.

English artist and writer Grayson Perry forever changed perceptions of quilting thanks to his passion for large-scale tapestries, publicly stressing that art is not defined by what or how it is made, but by its context. The Bays Harbor Quilting Group is in good company, with their Spring Quilting collection showcasing artwork that could be for the wall or the bed. In addition, there are notebooks covered with fabric, bags, cushions, teapots and soft toys. September 10-26.

Nick Harte, Maimed Infant, 2021, acrylic on canvas (City Art Depot)

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Nick Harte, Maimed Infant, 2021, acrylic on canvas (City Art Depot)

7. Nick Harte, Demonology, 96 Disraeli St, Sydenham.

Painter, writer and musician Nick Harte currently performs with the Aotearoa Snuff Jazz Ensemble and holds his first solo exhibition at City Art. His mention of demons and spirits may be present in the titles of his works, but his painting also inhabits another universe, more nebulous, but no less convincing. A reassuring world in its promises of wonder and beauty that is repeated over and over again. September 14 – October 4.

Karl Fritsch, Ring, 2021. Silver, aquamarine.  (The National)

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Karl Fritsch, Ring, 2021. Silver, aquamarine. (The National)

8. Karl Fritsch and Moniek Schrijer, SchmucKCrackeR, The National, 249, avenue Moorhouse.

SchmucKCrackeR showcases contemporary jewelry and items that include new works created by two Wellington-based artists. Moniek Schrijer is the recent artists resident at McCahon House and is internationally recognized for “turning the ordinary into the extraordinary”. Karl Fritsch works from his Driving Creek Pottery residence. September 9 – October 2.

John Walsh, Just Before They Came, 2019, oil on canvas (The Central Art Gallery)

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John Walsh, Just Before They Came, 2019, oil on canvas (The Central Art Gallery)

9. John Walsh, Things Have Changed, The Central Art Gallery, 2 Worcester Blvd, The Arts Center Te Matatiki Toi Ora.

that of John Walsh Things have changed is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Christchurch and after 40 years of painting. Born in 1954 in Tolaga Bay, Walsh is of Irish Aitanga, Haitian and New Zealand descent. In part, he can be credited with re-establishing the landscape as an important subject for the visual arts, his painting invigorating it and connecting it intimately with Maori conceptions of time and place, past and present. September 18 to October 10.

Barbara King, Under the Sea, felted wool and silk fabrics (Eastside Gallery)

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Barbara King, Under the Sea, felted wool and silk fabrics (Eastside Gallery)

ten. Textile and Fiber Arts Network, Textile Treasures, Eastside Gallery, 338 Worcester St, Linwood.

Textile treasures is a group exhibition by six local artists working through a range of practices; fashion, felting, embroidery, quilting, knitting and recycled furniture and more. The Textile and Fiber Arts Network, TAFAN, was formed following the February 2011 earthquakes and the loss of premises by a number of textile groups, now sharing facilities and collectively defending textiles, l fiber art and craftsmanship. September 20 – October 9.


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