New art gallery at NorthTec welcomed with open arms

Press Release – NorthTec

“It’s so light and bright…a beautiful space to be exhibiting different works in… it’s going to bring more people to the campus… the more art we have in Whangarei the better.”New art gallery at NorthTec welcomed with open arms

“It’s so light and bright…a beautiful space to be exhibiting different works in… it’s going to bring more people to the campus… the more art we have in Whangarei the better.”

These are some of the thoughts of people who turned out and in good numbers last Tuesday to celebrate the grand opening of the new Geoff Wilson Gallery at NorthTec’s Raumanga campus in Whangarei.

The opening exhibition, Decade 2000-2010, featured art works by graduates of NorthTec’s Visual Arts Programme from the past ten years. The exhibition was received, with many of the works on display selling.

Those exhibiting were: Amorangi Hikuroa, Wilson O’Halloran, Trish Clarke, Tane Matiu (with Trent Morgan), Steve Biggins, Heather Hunt, Megan Corbett, Evan Heasman, Esther Tattersall and Megan Bowers.

Tracie Wellington, who has one year to complete her Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual) degree at NorthTec, said on the night it was the first time she had been in the new gallery and was impressed with just how intimate the space was. She believed, as others did, that it was ideal for exhibiting all kinds of work.

“It is nice to see we (the students) have a purpose-built gallery that is also for the entire arts community.”

Viewing past student’s work has given her plenty of inspiration for her continued exploration of print making and 3D sculpture work. She was particularly interested in the oil paintings by Heather Hunt and Trish Clarke’s 3D metal work.

Trish mentioned that when enrolling in the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual) degree at NorthTec in 2007, she was initially interested in ceramics work but discovered 3D metal work instead – a medium she now uses to explore themes about traditional gender roles.

A blurb on the wall next to Trish’s work highlighted that the trio of ironing boards she was exhibiting was the ultimate representation of domestic chores that you can’t get away from. However, with their legs removed, “the ironing boards become canvases; objects of art transcending their former function and all that they symbolise.”

Since studying at NorthTec, Trish, 42, feels she has evolved as an artist and aspires to have her own solo exhibition. She does not consider herself a feminist but rather a metal work artist, who likes to promote equal opportunities where she can.

Trish said she first became interested in pursuing art for a career 20 years ago, when she did a year of study at what was then Northland Polytechnic under the tutelage of the late Geoff Wilson, whom the gallery is named in honour of before she embarked on a career in the printing industry in Auckland.

When returning to the north a few years ago, Trish said her circumstances changed, and as a single mum said she finally decided to jump in and enrol for the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual) degree at NorthTec, which she completed in 2009.

Said Trish, “I didn’t want to wait any longer, so I thought I’d come to NorthTec and chase down my long-held desire to become an artist.”

During her last year at NorthTec she did professional secondment working with the then Arts Promotion Trust on a Sculpture Symposium. This led to her being employed as an arts administrator by the trust, a role she now performs for CHART and Creative Northland.

She divides her time between her kids, work, and exhibits regularly at outdoor sculpture parks and events throughout New Zealand. One of her recent works is a sculpture installation in Whangarei’s new public art park.

She noted that the arts in Whangarei are maturing, with plenty of work going on behind the scenes to help Whangarei and Northland become an important centre for the Arts in New Zealand, something which NorthTec’s new gallery will be striving to achieve.

The Decade exhibition runs until 26 November. The next exhibition is by third year Applied Arts (Visual) students, opening on Tuesday 29 November.

ENDS

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