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The capital was the place to be last week

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The capital was the place to be last week: it was warm, sunny and still enough to sit on the waterfront without being tethered to the wharf, and the city was a-buzz with all things Art. We went down for the Festival and to catch up with some of the galleries. Here’s a tiny snapshot of what we saw…

Starting on the waterfront was Kete the Art and Craft Symposium at the Academy of Fine Arts. Over four days, fourteen galleries from around NZ presented leading craft and design works: glass, ceramics, jewellery and textiles, and was humming with practitioners and curators giving workshops and talks.

The buzz continued in the dealer galleries. In the central city, on Victoria Street, Page Blackie kicked off the year with an impressive suite of bronzes by Paul Dibble. From there it was off to Cuba Street – a visual feast in itself – where most of the galleries are tucked away in nooks and crannies along and just off the mall.

Along the mall, tucked into 209 Left Bank, Robert Heald Gallery was preparing for an exhibition by Andrew McLeod. Further along, a sharp right onto Ghuznee Street at No.56, Bartley and Company with some pulsating red Judy Millar paintings.

Across the street at 41 Ghuznee Street, Bowen Galleries – easily identified by this month’s window installation by Joanna Braithwaite – and down the corridor in the gallery itself, an exquisite exhibition of Artists’ books on music. Next door and up the stairs at No.39, Hamish McKay and a stunning installation of Diena Georgetti in his wood panelled office.

At 147 Cuba Street, the iconic Peter McLeavey Gallery there was a sleek collection of Darren George paintings on display in its two sun-lit rooms. Further up the no-longer-particularly-white staircase, Suite Gallery and some luscious Fiona Pardington photographs.

Completing the grand tour was a walk along Courtney Place to Majoribanks Street and up to The Young at No. 7 Hawker Street, where a group show was installed companionably into the rambling, Gothic rooms of the Mount Victoria villa.

At that point, I had worn out the shoe leather for the day and it was time to take in some of the offerings in the Arts Festival (too plentiful to list) and consume some of the city’s excellent food (also too plentiful to list) before starting on the myriad exhibitions at the public galleries and museums (see previous comments about plentiful) the next day.

Thanks for a wonderful week Wellington!

Jennifer Buckley

Image: Para Matchitt, Civic Square

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