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Exhibitions reflect on time, memory and taonga
Friday 20 January 2012, 5:29PM
By University of Auckland

From 20 January - 3 March the Gus Fisher Gallery hosts exhibitions by Reuben Paterson and Christine Hellyar, which both reflect on time, memory and taonga.

Reuben Paterson's Bottled Lightning surveys 15 years of work while Hutton and Cotton looks at the legacy of The University's McGregor Museum.

Paterson’s work is an ongoing conceptual investigation into aspects of time and energy through the properties of light, which reflects the power of history, memory, whakapapa, spirituality and place.

Bottled Lightning is a dazzling exploration of materials encompassing a wide range of media including sequins, foil, diamond dust, shoes, gourds, video and installation.

Fusing liquid, light and metal, his cultural patterns have evoked sacred diamonds, the social and ecological aftermath of gold mining, and the tidal pull of lunar forces. These remind us of the underlying power that ripples beneath the land we stand on with its ever-changing layers of history.

Hutton and Cotton is an installation that investigates taxonomies and threatened species with references to The University of Auckland’s own museum history. Artist Christine Hellyar makes use of the chaos and order of the partly demolished McGregor Museum in the School of Biological Sciences. Her work considers the divisions of animal, vegetable and mineral, and combines the history of museums and the history of art.

The names in the title refer to Frederick Wollaston Hutton, the 19th Century author of the first reference book on New Zealand native animals, and Charles Andrew Cotton, the 20th century geomorphologist who had a great influence on painter Colin McCahon.

Hellyar has held a life-long love for private and public museums. Many of her works explore our relationships with objects and collections, particularly how they are kept, valued and displayed. The McGregor Museum’s collections were started in 1884, and in 1939 moved into purpose-built spaces in the Old Biology Building on Symonds Street, designed by Roy Lippincott.

Bottled Lightning and Hutton and Cotton open at the Gus Fisher Gallery, 74 Shortland Street on Friday 20 January and run until 3 March.

Reuben Paterson graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts with a Bachelor's degree in 1997 and went on to do a Postgraduate Diploma of Teaching at the Faculty of Education, and has quickly become an internationally sought after artist.

Christine Hellyar is one of New Zealand's most respected senior sculptors. She studied at Elam in the late 1960s. After a period of living in Scotland and travel through Europe and North America, she returned to New Zealand and took up the part-time position of Senior Lecturer at Elam from 1981 to 1996.