First Thursdays Quarterly returns on 2 May

3 minutes read
Posted 25 April, 2024
Yuki Kihara Si ou Alofa Maria Hail Mary after Gauguin 2020

Yuki Kihara, Si' ou Alofa Maria: Hail Mary (after Gauguin) (2020)

by Kelly Carmichael

First Thursdays Quarterly is a free and fun event that celebrates the diversity of arts and culture in our region. Join in the art crawl across six exhibition spaces all located around Earl Street and Marine Parade in Queenstown.

May brings new exhibitions to Queenstown including the opening of Fiona Pardington’s new work at Starkwhite. After an invitation to interact with the collection of the South Canterbury Museum, Pardington draw on her Ngāi Tahu whakapapa to create a series of striking portraits of native birds. Birds have long played an important role in Pardington’s photography and take many roles in her work. Messengers of the spirit world, communicating between atua and the mortal world, in Pardington’s work they can symbolise familial love, romantic attachment, ecological warnings, intimations of mortality, or symbols of individual people in her life.

Artbay is also opening a new exhibition by sculptor Simon Max Bannister. For his smaller bronze works Bannister assembles wood splinters, resembling feathers, bone, and sinew, collected from sawmills. Utilising a lost cast technique he crafts these fragments to construct indigenous birds, nests, and wings, each work a respectful tribute to both natural beauty and the need to preserve it. Head to Artbay’s upstairs gallery also to see the work of Brazilian artist Maico Camilo whose brightly coloured and patterned canvases are guided by the interplay of acrylic and mixed media, delving into the depths of his personal narrative.

At Milford Galleries the group exhibition Kawarau 3 brings together photography, painting, and sculpture. Paul Dibble’s major-scale Rabbit Fights Back 1 sculpture is the exhibition's centrepiece, the final artist proof released from the late artist’s studio. Accompanied by new work from artists including Karl Maughan, Dick Frizzell, Michael Hight, Chris Heaphy, Ian Scott, Yuki Kihara, and Lisa Reihana, Kawarau 3 offers a diverse range of work and snapshot of contemporary NZ art practice.

Lightworx has a new mixed media light work from Melbourne based designer Ilan El. Interested in the experiential quality of light and its potential for positive psychological and emotional effects, El explores colours of the visible spectrum to develop objects with playful, interactive, and automated elements. A recent series of artworks, Luminism, challenged the limited ways we perceive the world around us.

Romer Gallery is known for its large format landscape photographs of Te Waipounamu. The latest addition to the gallery results from a night expedition into the Hooker Valley, capturing a dramatic shot of Aoraki/Mt Cook illuminated by moonlight. Stephan has received multiple awards for this technically precise piece, which also beautifully captures the Milky Way traveling across the night sky.

Earlier this year First Thursdays called for ideas for satellite events to take place as part along the First Thursdays route. 'Have and Hold' was pitched by Simon Morrison Deaker, who invited local Whakatipu artists to join him in creating a mini fair-like environment. Have and Hold brings together a diverse mix of local creative practice – including painting, jewellery, ceramics, weaving, and taxidermy – in a fun and relaxed atmosphere accompanied by DJ tunes. Joining Simon are Kristin O’Sullivan Peren, Dan Preysner, Laura Shallcrass, Claire Todd, and Jessica Winchcombe and everything is $800 and under.

Bringing together Starkwhite, Milford Galleries, Romer, Artbay, and Lightworx, First Thursdays Quarterly seeks to connect people with creativity across our town centre. Based around Earl Street and Marine Parade, the event offers exhibitions and opportunities to engage with the region’s creative community during a special late-night opening from 5 – 7.30pm each quarter. Thanks to Akarua, join us for a glass of some of this region’s finest wine as you look at art work. Maps are available at participating galleries and on the First Thursdays Quarterly instagram – @firstthursdaysqt – and facebook page.

First Thursdays Quarterly from 5 – 7.30pm on Thursday, 2 May.
Galleries from 5pm, Have and Hold satellite event from 6.30pm
at St Peter's Church Hall (behind Starkwhite)

Fiona Pardington Fiordland Crested Penguin South Canterbury Museum 2024

Fiona Pardington, Fiordland Crested Penguin, South Canterbury Museum (2024)

Stephan Romer Aoraki Mt Cook

Stephan Romer, Aoraki/Mt Cook


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