Must See Small Art Galleries in Wellington

Sunday, March 26, 2017

This week a small group of us from my church C3 Wellington went on a gallery-crawl around Wellington. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to bring my Canon 600D along to take a few snaps of my favourite artworks as we wondered from gallery to gallery. All of us have lived in Wellington for a few years and have been to all the major art galleries (no bashing on them though!) so we thought it was about time we go visit the small, sometimes privately owned galleries hidden in the side streets of the Wellington CBD. 

Special thanks to Hollie Arnett for organising this awesome whee trip out!



Once we warmed up with a hot chocolate (my choice) or a mocha or coffee at Customs Café, we headed off on our journey and started next door at Bowen Galleries. Starting off strong, this was probably my favourite exhibition. There's something about abstract painting that I just adore, and we all know how much I love colours so this collection by Telly Tu'u was amazing for me.

A quote by the artist next to the artworks sums up my thoughts on abstract artworks quite well; "I don't believe in absolutes in creativity, I'm not interested in an either - or proposition, rather what might happen when these painting applications come together." It's not about each perfect element within an artwork, but how they all come together as a final piece.


New Love Logos

We then nipped next door (again!) to Peter McLeavy Gallery, which is an old heritage building turned into an art gallery. I certainly fell in love with the architecture! There was a giant stained glass window looking across the street outside, and a 1800s original carved ceiling (which is apparently only one of two in the country!)

The exhibition that was on show was by Richard Killeen and W D Hammond, which my favourite piece was a giant work by Hammond called New Love Logos. He combined personal experiences with the vulnerability of the environment and humanity as an endangered species. After talking to the gallery assistant we learnt that Hammond had actually kept this work hidden under his bed for many years as he felt it was too personal to show; but I am so thankful he did because it gives such a (depressing as it is) strong insight to the fragility of humanity.


Talking to Heaven

Thirdly we ventured to Bartley + Company Art, which is actually a gallery that I have walked past a fair few times but for some reason I just never went inside. The exhibition that we saw was by Kerry Ann Lee and was amazingly weird. Lee's works are a collection of crazy, realism digital collages. She had a huge mobile of common images (from sunglasses to chicken feet!) that when the light and a breeze hit, was simply hypnotising. I loved seeing how she combined all these seemingly random things into something cohesive that made me thing 'why did she put these objects together?"

A quote from the artist on the Bartley + Company Art website helped me wonder why she headed into this angle of art; "Initially it came from a love and active interest in collage and punk poster graphics, record art, Dada and a lot of that historic use of montage ... I like that punk and Dada were more about upsetting popular imagery, a transformative reconfiguration of paper cutting to both reveal and take away."


The Basil Plant and other works

The Basil Plant and other works

Lastly we went to Robert Heald Gallery, which ignorantly, a lot of us actually thought was closed when looking through the windows! But once we walked inside we realised that all the art was just so teeny tiny we couldn't see it! Patrick Lundberg's collection was so intriguing, I'm still thinking about it!

He had two differnt sets of work; the first being painted shoestrings, and the second (my favourite) was painted miniature resin balls! These little balls were about the size of my fingernail (and I don't have large fingernails!) and each and every single one had intricate patterns painted all over them; of the two displays using these little resin balls, there were about ten or so in each work. So, imagine how many he would have painted to get to these final pieces!

After talking to the gallery assistant, she said that each time these works are displayed in a different space, he has a certain configuration that he uses, depending on how big or small the space is. And if you were to buy one of them (they come as each collection, not the individual balls themselves!) he will come an install them in your house/studio; whether that's along a wall or around a doorway or up to a ceiling!


Have you been to any of these galleries in Wellington? Or do you know of any other must-see small-er art galleries around Wellington, or even in New Zealand in general? Let me know your thoughts on these works and galleries in the comments below!

Until next time,
- Louise x

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