Updates from RDS Gallery

The gallery is closed to the public until further notice.

Photograph © James Robinson and Alan Dove

Madeleine Child’s Dicky Birds

Available at RDS Gallery

Price on Request


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Pete Wheeler: Longer Than Dirt, scheduled for 3–25 September 2021, has been deferred due to lockdown restrictions.

Below a preview of one of the very striking paintings included in Longer Than Dirt

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Check under Artists for a downloadable catalogue and occasional essay in PDF.

PETE WHEELER, Getting Old Sucks, 2021, oil, oil stick and pigment on canvas, 11700mm x 2200mm.

Esther Bosshard

Rona on the Moon

6–28 August 2021

Opening Reception: 6 August, 5-7


The exhibition “Rona on the Moon” brings together selected paintings from 2018 through 2021 by Dunedin artist Esther Bosshard. Largely landscapes and seascapes in oil on canvas, hessian, and board – the largest work is 61xcm in height and 100cm in width, with most considerably smaller – the majority were completed in 2021. Edward Hanfling’s description of a 2018 exhibition continues to ring true: “There are paintings…that conjure figures and animals out of delicate ridges and flicks of paint…. [E]very part of the surface holds interest. The eye is drawn into minute vistas with indeterminate suggestions of matter, then back to the matter of paint itself.” Jane Malthus observes in the context of this 2021 exhibition that “Esther’s paintings freeze time, but also render landscape, beach, and moonlit seascape as both aged and ageless. They remind us of nature’s diurnal rhythms and seasonality, and, thus, our own timespan of life.”


Edward Hanfling, review of “Esther Bosshard: My hair is longer and the plums are ready now.”, ART NEW ZEALAND 166 (winter 2018): 48.

Jane Malthus, “Rona on the Moon,” ed. Alistair Fox and Hilary Radner, ESTHER BOSSHARD: RONA ON THE MOON, Dunedin: RDS Gallery, 2021.

Artist’s Biography

Esther Bosshard (b. 1994 in Wellington) spent three years studying painting at the Dunedin School of Art and completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2015. In a world she sees as increasingly fragmented, chaotic, and noisy, her paintings are a manifestation of her quest for a simpler, quieter meditation on life, paying homage to the modest overlooked objects and landscapes in our lives. She has always been interested in the conceptualisation of the everyday in painting, because, in her words, “I love the myriad of detail, colour, pattern, form and light that we live amongst and remain largely oblivious to. My paintings, I hope, encourage introspection, recognition, and at the very best, the opening of the eyes of the viewer to the incidental beauty in his or her own life.” A recipient of the 2015 Feldspar Scholarship and the 2015 Webb Farry Award for drawing, she, as well as painting and growing flowers, also teaches life drawing at the Dunedin School of Art night classes.


For further information, email RDS Gallery at radner@rdsgallery.co.nz

PETER CLEVERLEY, Letter in Paint for the People of Bamiyan, 2021.

Medium – gouache & water colour on d.a.s. 300gsm paper. Dimensions – (image) hght 280mm x wdth 380mm, (frame) hght 435mm x wdth 535mm.

PETER CLEVERLEY, World Girl in the Maniototo, 2019/21.

Medium – gouache & water colour on d.a.s. 300gsm paper. Dimensions – (image) hght 300mm x wdth 400mm, (frame) hght 400mm x wdth 500mm.

Philip Jarvis: Captain Paradise

16 April – 15 May 2021

Opening Reception: Friday 16 April, 5-7 pm

RDS Gallery, 6 Castle Street


Philip Jarvis is perhaps best known for his ceramics, though his projects could be described as ‘3-D work that crosses a range of disciplines’, exemplified in the recent ‘Cargo Bike Art Project’ (2021) with Anna Muirhead for the Dunedin Fringe Festival. The art included in ‘Captain Paradise’ ranges from ceramics to photographic collages. Philip comments, ‘Ceramics are always the starting point, but as I work more with ceramics, I want more control and gravity – this means using less of the kiln and bringing in other materials, including photographic images.’

A concept that returns again and again in conversation with Philip is something he calls ‘the Art of Being Visible’ – an idea that underlies his exhibition at RDS Gallery (16 April – 15 May 2021) titled ‘Captain Paradise’. Philip explains: ‘When you are a kid, lots of times, you dream about being someone. And…then, you just invent a character…and then you can talk about things through the character that you probably wouldn’t have the courage to address otherwise. “Captain Paradise” is an exploration of that…inventing a character.’ Pippi Miller in her occasional essay accompanying the exhibition emphasises that a ‘tension…between visibility and invisibility, distraction and vulnerability’ informs the works on view, a tension that speaks to the difficulty of ‘being someone’ in contemporary society, in which behaviour and appearance are increasingly on trial, subjected to scrutiny and frequently condemned out of hand. Jarvis concludes, ‘The exhibition “Captain Paradise” is an invitation to enter into my world. The whole point is to come into a space [that may be] in some ways overwhelming because it belongs to me, at least temporarily…[The exhibition is] an invitation to the viewer to enter the space that I have created.’

Philip Jarvis (b. 1968) completed a BA at the Camberwell School of Art (1987-1990). Born in Winchester, U.K., he has spent the last 24 years making art in Dunedin, which he considers his home. He has been awarded numerous residencies, including the Cowwarr Art Space (2016, Victoria, Australia), the Lochmara Lodge Artist Residency (2012, Marlborough), Wild Creations (2011, DOCO/CNZ Rotorua Lakes), Sturt Craft Centre (2009, Mittagong, NSW), AIRVallauris (1997, Vallauris, France). The Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa, the James Wallace Trust, the Frans Hal Museum (the Netherlands), A.I.R. Vallauris (France), the Shepparton Art Gallery (Australia), the Canterbury Museum, and the Otago Museum are among the institutions that own examples of his works. He has a reputation as an artist with a singular vision, while fostering collaboration with other artists as part of his project. His work has earned him a Portage Ceramics Premier Award (joint) in 2009 and a Sidney Myer Fund Premier Art Award in 2000 (joint). Recent exhibitions in Dunedin include ‘Toothpaste Tubes Doing Parkour’ (Rear Window, DPAG, 2017), ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Cactus’ (White Box, Dunedin, Fringe HQ, 2019), ‘Life Puzzle’ (RDS Gallery, 2020) and ‘Cargo Bike Art Space’ (Dunedin, Fringe, 2021). He also runs marathons.

2021 Schedule (tbc)

Fri 21 May – Sat 19 June 2021: Sharon Singer ‘Tales of the Anthropocene’

Sharon Singer, a Dunedin-based visual artist, holds an a MFA (2008) from the Dunedin School of Art. Her work has attracted wide-spread attention, and has been included in solo exhibitions, group exhibitions and award exhibitions across the country, such as NZ Portrait Award (finalist, 2000), Waikato National Art Award (Merit, 2001), Norsewear Art Awards (winner, 2002), and Wallace Art Award (finalist, 2003). Fairy tales and myth have provided the subjects for her paintings since 2000, marked by concerns with ‘narrative and meta-fictional awareness’ in her words. In more recent years, she reports that her art has addressed themes such as ‘global warming, the Earth’s spiritual meaning and consumer values, either as a vast mystery or a source of consumable resources. Underpinning all is an interest in the human condition in relationship to nature.’ Her paintings have been reproduced in an array of outlets, including Landfall 237 (Autumn 2019): 48-56, and Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion (Jack Zipes, 2006, second edition, cover image).

July: Closed

Fri 6 August – Sat 28 August: Esther Bosshard ‘Rona on the Moon’

Esther Bosshard: In a world increasingly fragmented, chaotic and noisy, my paintings are a manifestation of my quest for a simpler, quieter meditation on life, and pay homage to the modest overlooked objects and landscapes in our lives.

I have always been interested in the conceptualisation of the everyday in painting, because I love the myriad of detail, colour, pattern, form and light that we live amongst and remain largely oblivious to. My paintings, I hope, encourage introspection, recognition, and at the very best, the opening of the eyes of the viewer to the incidental beauty in his or her own life.

I was born in Wellington in 1994. I spent three years doing Painting at the Dunedin School of Art, completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2015.

I was fortunate to receive the 2015 Feldspar Scholarship and the 2015 Webb Farry Award for drawing. As well as painting and growing flowers, I also teach life drawing at the Dunedin School of Art night classes.

Esther Bosshard


Fri 3 Sept – Sat 25 Sept: Pete Wheeler ‘Longer Than Dirt’

Pete Wheeler: A preface to the catalogue for Pete Wheeler: Painting out of Time, a major exhibition being held by the Wallace Arts Trust at The Pah Homestead between 30 June and 6 September 2020, observes that Wheeler ‘is by no means as well- known in New Zealand as he should be. In fact, he is recognised much more in Berlin and Florence, where he had a major exhibition in 2011’. It is timely, therefore, to acknowledge his status as one of the significant New Zealand artists of his generation.

Peter Wheeler (b. 1978, Timaru, New Zealand) holds a BFA (2000) from the Dunedin School of Art and an MFA (2009) from the U of Canterbury. He has exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally in galleries such as Buia Gallery, NY, Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch, Poggiali e Forconi, Florence, and Whitespace Gallery, Auckland. He currently resides in Dunedin with his wife and three children, having recently returned from Europe, where he spent over a decade familiarising himself with the international art world, primarily in Berlin. For him, painting is his ‘job’ – he works regular hours and prides himself on his mastery of his craft, developed over twenty years. ‘I am a painter’ is a phrase that he habitually repeats when describing himself.


Fri 1 October– Sat 23 October: Clive Humphreys ‘Open Air’

Clive Humphreys is a printmaker and painter whose work is represented in many private and public collections, including Auckland City Gallery, Te Papa Wellington, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, The Hocken Gallery and Christchurch City Gallery.

Recently he has developed a focus on watercolour and drawing to explore the ancient primeval process of forest and landscape on Waiheke Island where he lives.His fascination with watercolour was the result of a research visit to London in 2012. His technical development of this medium is crucially informed by his stencil-making experience in printmaking.

Clive graduated from Kingston College of Art and Design, London, in 1970. Since then he has worked and exhibited extensively. He taught at the Dunedin School of Art from1987-2019, over the years holding the positions of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Principal Lecturer. In 2015, he was the recipient of a National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award and awarded an Honorary Master of Fine Arts in 2020.


Fri 29 October – Sat 20 November: Peter Cleverley

Peter Cleverley was born in Oamaru in 1954 and works from a studio at his home in Kakanui, North Otago, having gained a Diploma in Fine & Applied Arts in 1974. As well as lecturing at the Dunedin School of Art since 1987, he has exhibited in Wellington, Ashburton, Gore, and Dunedin, with recent exhibitions, including ‘Smoke & Mirrors’, curated by the Forrester Gallery, Oamaru, in 2010. His works are held in the permanent collections of many New Zealand public art galleries, including Te Papa, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery; Forrester Public Art Gallery, Oamaru; Suter Gallery, Nelson; Aigantighe Gallery, Timaru; Hocken Library, Dunedin; and the Manawatu Public Gallery, Palmerston North.

Fri 26 November] – Sat 18 December: Rachel Allan

Rachel Hope Allan is an artist and writer from New Zealand currently based in Ōtepoti. She received her Master of Fine Arts with distinction from Dunedin School of Art, where she is currently a senior lecturer and studio coordinator in Photography. Her work deals with restraint, curiosity and mimicry and has been featured in PhotoForum’s 2020 portfolio review and in Stephen Bull’s 2020 edition of A Companion to Photography. Allan’s interdisciplinary practice employs sculpture, performance, first generation darkroom-based processes, digital and hybridised photography.

Her current research investigates the enduring collision between the real and the simulated by re-contextualising the authentic and replicant while simultaneously subverting and confronting their associated values. She exhibits both locally and internationally; most recently at Laurel Project Space, Dunedin,(2019) and at the Jarvis Dooney Galerie, Berlin, (2018 & 2019). In 2017, her solo show CRASH had its international debut with Wallplay in New York, NY. Also, in 2017, two of her photographs that had been previously exhibited at The Dunedin Public Art Gallery were selected to be part of ‘Anything Could Happen’ at The Yu Gallery, Shanghai (2017).

Allan’s artist-books have been collected by the National Gallery of Australia, the Museum of New Zealand, the Auckland City Library, Auckland University, Massey University, Victoria University, University of Canterbury, the Hocken Collection, University of Otago, the National Library of New Zealand, and Reminders Photography Stronghold, Tokyo, Japan.


Marion Wassenaar: Diamond Mine

19 March – 10 April 2021

Opening Reception: Friday 19 March, 5–7

Marion Wassenaar explores the use of carbonised objects as an integral part of her project as an artist. To create the works exhibited in “Diamond Mine” (RDS Gallery, 19 March through 10 April 2021) she carbonised crocheted doilies and then put them through a printing press, by which process they become images on paper that we perceive as two-dimensional. She thereby highlights the visual complexity of these mundane objects, many retrieved from op shops – discarded remnants of past lives that are recycled through these prints, recalling the Arte Povera movement inaugurated in the 1960s. Associated with the Italian city Turin, Arte Povera artists explored the use of discarded materials (“trash”) as a sustainable alternative to the fine arts tradition that privileged rare and costly media, from gold to marble. In so doing, Wassenaar obliges us to consider not only the ecological implications of contemporary art and fashion practices, but also the aesthetic dimensions of these deceptively humble household adornments, all too frequently (and unfairly) relegated to the category of tacky, ironic nostalgia by contemporary high-culture tastemakers.

These prints further, through their complexity, suggest the affinities of knitting and crochet with what have become known as STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math. Mathematician, Ami Radunskaya comments: “These are beautiful images….Knot theory is at the forefront of mathematics now, with applications to understanding DNA, drug targeting, and chemical bonding, in addition to more theoretical applications in computer science and mathematics. These two-dimensional projections of knots are fodder for knot theorists, and they have been an object of study at least since Gauss (1794).”

The poetry of these figures produced by a series of simple knots, now presented as “flat” patterns, invokes the deep and sustained relations between science and art as the product of the creative and imaginative capacity that we all share as human animals.


Marion Wassenaar, who already had a background in commercial printing, gained an MFA with distinction in 2013 from Dunedin School of Art, with which she is now affiliated. She “specialises in print practices with a research interest that focuses on the collision between humans and their environment, either through social justice or ecological concerns”. In her words, “I lecture in the Print Studio (Print Laboratory) at the Dunedin School of Art, and curate the Otago Polytechnic Art Collection.” Associated with a number of art practices – print, installation and photography – she is particularly known for her work with carbonised objects. In 2018, she was awarded the Estuary Art and Ecology Prize for her repurposed and carbonised book work “Unplugged”.



Email from Ami Radunskaya, 7 February 2021

We begin 2021 with an exhibition featuring works from DSA 2020 Graduates selected by a panel of three anonymous referees, all established experts in contemporary art from the Dunedin community. The exhibition officially opens with a reception Friday 15 January, 5:30-7:00, closing Saturday, 6 February. Below a few comments by Alistair Fox on the forthcoming exhibition.

Between Then and Here: The Perspectives of a New Generation

In a year afflicted by a 100-year catastrophe – the Covid-19 pandemic – it might have been anticipated that artistic creativity would take a dive. To the contrary, the opposite is true, as proven by the works in this current exhibition, which represent some of the outstanding achievements of students graduating from the class of 2020 at the Dunedin School of Art. Their works speak to the role of artistic creation as a sociological and psychological necessity, and to the undiminished inventiveness of the next generation of this country’s artists.The range of media represented in this exhibition attest to the vitality of New Zealand art: screen prints, wood and plaster sculptures, pen and ink drawings, multimedia works, and digital prints, as well as paintings. More importantly, in terms of their thematic content, the works on display manifest an engagement by young New Zealanders with some of the most pressing concerns faced by this society. Chief among them are cultural issues, such as the need to come to terms with the unconscious bias implicit in the application of certain labels that have a racial implication (Hemi Hosking). Accompanying these concerns are others: nostalgia for a world that is changing (Dillon Waddell); concern for what is occurring in the borderlands between urban and rural (Lucian Howard); and awareness of the dysfunctionality of contemporary domestic life (Maisie Robinson). As far as the psychological dimensions of New Zealand life are concerned, these works reveal a preoccupation with the transition into adulthood (Tess Wing), including the experience of loneliness, dislocation, and depression (Pippi Miller). As such, these emerging artists hold up a mirror to this society in which it can contemplate the relation between what it has been and what it might be becoming or wish to become. A number of the artists extend 20th century aesthetic concerns into the 21st century, underlining the importance of art history to contemporary art. Koren Allpress interrogates colour theory, while Brittany Sleight reinvents Surrealist practices for the computer age. Again, harking back to the Surrealists, Antonia Craig conceives of painting as a means of engaging with the unconscious, while Harrison Freeth is preoccupied with the concept of play as a political act, echoing the historical avant-garde, in particular Dadaism.

Altogether, the works in this show suggest that the prospects for the future of art in this country are undiminished.

Alistair Fox, Dunedin, January 2021



Wednesday 23 December – 6 January

We re-open Thursday 7 January 11-5:30

RDS Gallery, 6 Castle Street, Dunedin

Reception for Michael Greaves

Friday 13 November 5:30–7

RDS Gallery, 6 Castle Street, Dunedin

Join us for a reception in honour of Michael Greaves on the occasion of his exhibition “I Suddenly Remembered My Grandmothers’ Words”. All those who support art and artists are welcome.

Michael Greaves

I Suddenly Remembered My Grandmothers’ Words

13 November – 12 December 2020

Born in 1976 and a native of Dunedin, Michael Greaves exhibited a facility for drawing and painting while still an adolescent, which garnered him attention, praise and even sales. While this early initiation undoubtedly fuelled his desire to become an artist, much of his subsequent work as painter over the past twenty years has revolved around exploring what painting might be once it throws off the burden of representing reality in accordance with what and how we see. In a 2012 essay, Greaves wrote: ‘For me, this “window to the world” idea of painting, a mode so similar to the ubiquitous photograph, does not accurately present the position that painting occupies, although it was the pathway and the projected road to a successful painting promoted during my early years, emphasising correctness to the representation of sight.’ In the works included in his solo exhibition with RDS Gallery, which runs 13 November–12 December, Greaves has pushed this process of reflection and enquiry still further, largely omitting any suggestion of representation as a literal transcription of a visually perceived object. Instead, he has allowed the formal properties of the work (shape, colour, line, texture, etc.), in combination with titles that are designed to trigger reflective speculation on the part of the viewer, to convey his sense of the ‘more’ that resides beyond the constraints of figuration as ‘representation’, both on the part of the artist who creates the painting, and the viewer who looks at it.

Greaves currently holds the position of Senior Lecturer in Painting, Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic, where he has taught for the past fifteen years. He holds a Bachelor of Art (Painting) and Master of Fine Arts from the Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic, as well as a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Art History and Theory, and a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) from the University of Otago.

Peter Cleverley: BLUE DAISY CHAIN

7 October – 9 November 2020

Peter Cleverley: BLUE DAISY CHAIN, RDS Gallery, 6 Castle Street, 9 October – 7 November 2020

Peter Cleverley has secured himself a place in the history of New Zealand art: for over thirty-five years he has been painting in his native Oamaru, where the great New Zealand writer Janet Frame spent the majority of her childhood. Peter continues to create in a tiny studio located in Kakanui, whose variegated skies, blue seas and ‘horseshoe bluff’ mark his work, providing, along with his many travels, ‘the matrix’ for his art, in the words Hal Smith, writing for Art New Zealand in 1988. Peter is indeed a regional artist in the sense that he is of the region, ‘a product of our own patch of earth’, again in the words of Hal Smith. His concerns are, nonetheless, global, as he continues to explore what he calls ‘the human condition’ in all its complexities.

His exhibition BLUE DAISY CHAIN, running from 9 October – 7 November at RDS Gallery, 6 Castle Street, Dunedin, offers the viewer a set of paintings produced within a specific time period by an artist dans la force de l’âge – at the height of his powers, enriched by long years spent refining his craft. The subject matter derives from his memories, ‘blue daisy chain’ (the painting which gave the exhibition its title), for example, referring to his childhood activities. ‘ALL TWENTY NINE’, a reference to the Pike River Mine victims of 2010, arises out of a national trauma, while ‘knitted flowers – Bangkok’ conjures up an encounter the artist had in Thailand with a young woman selling ‘knitted flowers’ from her wheel chair. In contrast ‘Jimi Hendrix Experience with a vase of flowers’ evokes the eponymous singer who died tragically from an overdose at the age of 27––and the music of Peter’s youth. The deeply affective nature of these renditions owes much to the fact that this artist has mastered his medium – in particular, he is a colourist of unrivalled virtuosity, painting frequently in gouache and water colour, with the finished work hovering undefinably between figuration and abstraction.

PETER CLEVERLEY, blue daisy chain (2020). Medium: gouache & water colour on Bockingford paper. Dimensions: hght 275mm x wdth 380mm

‘Christopher Duncan and Joseph Yen with Kate Fitzharris: Trusting Our Hands’ on view at 6 Castle Street 11 September – 3 October

Thurs, Fri: 11-5:30; Sat 11-4

Christopher Duncan and Joseph Yen, both hailing from Auckland, bring the art of what textile scholar Jane Malthus describes as “geometric abstraction” to their “cloths and garments”. These creations are complemented by the work of Dunedin ceramics artist Kate Fitzharris, including a set of hand-formed necklaces. For Kate, “objects … can contain something of our experiences, our memories of the past or our hopes of the future”. All three artists are concerned with the way the art object has the potential to become part of our daily life – in Malthus’ words, they are “dedicated to slowing the mad pace of city life that has lost touch with natural rhythms”. They ask us to observe our surroundings, including the clothes that cover us and the objects with which we live – to question the nature of an ever-proliferating mass-produced consumer culture, divorced from human touch, by offering an alternative. Joseph Yen comments: “When a piece is hand-made and not mass-produced, every single piece is different. I think something you use every day should be beautiful.” He further elaborates: “The clothing that we make…it’s not mass-produced; we make each one ourselves, so you can call it an art piece.”

Christopher Duncan, one of the most prominent weavers of his generation, has exhibited extensively in New Zealand, including the Pah Homestead, and Objectspace. He was awarded Dame Doreen’s Gift (Blumhardt Foundation) in 2018. His work is held in the collection of Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira. Joseph Yen, in addition to practicing his own craft constructing unique pieces of clothing and jewellery, runs a small gallery, Tür, on Karangahape Road. Kate Fitzharris is an award-winning ceramicist. Her honours include a recent residency at Shigaraki Ceramic Culture Park (Japan, 2019), with funding provided by the Blumhardt Foundation and Creative New Zealand.

Peter Cleverley, exhibiting with RDS Gallery 9 October – 7 November, is speaking at the Dunedin School of Art on 10 September.


Peter Cleverley

fourteen pictures with fourteen words

Peter states: “I will show photographs of recent paintings being prepared for exhibitions in Dunedin and Christchurch, October 2020, and discuss some of the influences, techniques, concepts and ideas used to bring them about.”

Peter Cleverley was born in Oamaru (1954) and awarded a Diploma in Fine Arts from the Dunedin School of Art in1974. He has travelled the world: Aotearoa, Australia, Indonesia, Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Laos, Polynesia, working at anything that would support his art making. Returning to Aotearoa in 1984 Peter has continued paint and exhibit nationally. He worked as the Exhibitions Officer from 1985 – 1997at the Forrester Public Gallery in Oamaru and Lectured in Painting and Drawing at the Dunedin School of Art from 1998 to 2017.

His paintings are held in permanent collections of municipal galleries including Te Papa, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and the Forrester Gallery. Since 2017 he has worked full-time painting at his studio in Kakanui.


On view at 6 Castle Street

14 August through 5 September

Thursday 11-5:30

Friday 11-5:30

Saturday 11-4:00

Photographer Justin Spiers, currently located in Dunedin, has a long-standing interest in documenting and exploring the relations between humans and their environment, especially, but not exclusively, with regards to the other animals that share their planet.

He is perhaps best known for “Pet Photo Booth”, initiated in 2005 with Yvonne Doherty while he was Director of the Perth Centre for Photography, a position he held from 2004-2007. Works from the “Pet Photo Booth” project have been widely exhibited, including at the National Portrait Gallery (Canberra, Australia) in 2009, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art and the Australian Centre for Photography in 2012, as well as at the Pah Homestead in Auckland, which houses the James Wallace Art Trust’s collection of New Zealand art, in 2019.

Spiers’ photographic works investigate the ecological complexities of contemporary human experience and activities:“Castlelands” (The Blue Oyster, 2011) records the architectural intersections between fantasy, domesticity and nature, while the photographs included in “The Colony” (Christchurch, 2016) take up issues arising out of the larger environmental context. Further exhibitions including “The Sides of My Intent”, at the a gallery, Dunedin, in 2012; Zoo Series exhibited as part of Hijacked III (Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts) also in 2012; and “Meat Fence,” another project that resulted in a 2014 exhibition at the Perth Centre for Photography with Jonathan Marshall––all served to invite viewers to reflect on the more difficult and vexed aspects of humans’ relations with other animals.

One of Spiers’ collaborators, Jonathan Marshall remarks that “Neither Justin nor I can fully decipher what these animals stand for. They are enigmas that in the end can only reflect back our own compromised gaze like a dull, opaque mirror.” Not surprisingly, then, Justin Spiers’ exhibition at RDS Gallery, which runs from 14 August – 5 September 2020, returns to many of these themes––the connections between humans and other animals, their representations and their implications––the broader ecologies that define their lives.

Sources––Jonathan W. Marshall, “Trophies Remain”, Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts 22.8 (2017): 86-98.

Exhibition extended through 8 August.

This July, we are very pleased to be exhibiting:

Folk Art of the



3 July – 1 August

6 Castle Street

Recently, on the occasion of an overview of the artist’s work held by the Wallace Arts Trust collection, spanning the years 2004-2019, Sir James Wallace remarked that Pete Wheeler ‘is by no means as well-known in New Zealand as he should be. In fact, he is recognised much more in Berlin and Florence, where he had a major exhibition in 2011’. Exceptionally, ‘Folk Art of the Apocalypse’ makes available to inhabitants of Dunedin a set of new works by this significant painter. While he, his wife and three children currently reside in Berlin, they were caught out by the nationwide lockdown, which they spent in Broad Bay, where a number of these new paintings were created.

Born 1978, in Timaru, New Zealand, Pete holds a BFA (2000) from the Otago Polytechnic and ‘describes Dunedin as his “home city “…. Dunedin is where he returns to and where many of his good friends live’ (ODT, 25 June 2020). He has exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally in galleries such as Buia Gallery, NY, Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch, Poggiali e Forconi, Florence, and Whitespace Gallery, Auckland. Alistair Fox describes ‘Folk Art of the Apocalypse’ as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, emerging out ‘an enforced lockdown…the paintings in this exhibition being either created during the lockdown, or else presented to be viewed in the context of the pandemic’. In Fox’s terms, they serve to underline ‘a generational failure..the failure of the older generation to provide a world in which the young can thrive’ (exhibition catalogue).

RDS Gallery will be hosting a solo exhibition of paintings by Pete Wheeler, 3 July -1 August 2020.

Peter Wheeler (b. 1978, Timaru, New Zealand) holds a BFA (2000) from the Otago Polytechnic and an MFA (2009) from the U of Canterbury. He has exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally in galleries such as Buia Gallery, NY, Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch, Poggiali e Forconi, Florence, and Whitespace Gallery, Auckland. He currently resides in Berlin with his wife and three children.

Wheeler’s primary engagement is with painting as an activity that seeks no other justification outside itself. He works exclusively in oil on canvas, which he primes with rabbit skin glue on the reverse. He specifies: ‘Somehow, I just love putting colour on a surface. It’s just the way it is. I think art is just something inherently in us as kids, and some of us carry that through life’. His later paintings are often developed with reference to found photographs, which he re-interprets liberally; he is drawn to a particular image (to which he frequently returns more than once) because of the way it suggests a potential painting as a play of colour, texture, form and composition . His work remains, nonetheless, largely figurative and fundamentally enigmatic. He comments that ‘I am interested in a narrative that considers the relationship between our reality and the metaphysical’; yet, he steadfastly refuses to elaborate on the nature and import of that relationship––leaving that task to the individual viewer.


Bruni, Lorenzo. ‘Conversation between Lorenzo Bruni and Pete Wheeler’. In Pete Wheeler, Lorenzo Bruni, ed. Florence: Galleria Poggiali e Forconi, 2011.

Sisterson, Craig. ‘pushing paint around’, latitudemagazine.co.nz. Consulted https://thecentral.co.nz/usr/library/documents/main/101/pete-wheeler-latitude-mag.pdf

Images: PETE WHEELER, Trojan Horse (2019), oil and oil stick on canvas, 220cm x 170cm; PETE WHEELER, Looking for My Own Name (2019/20), oil and oil stick on canvas, 200cm x 150cm

Exhibition Schedule
May – December 2020

Philip Jarvis, Felix Harris, Pete Wheeler

8 May – 30 May

Madeleine Child

4 June – 27 June [official opening Friday 5 June]

Pete Wheeler

2 July –1 August [opening reception Friday 3 July]

Justin Spiers

13 August –5 September [opening reception Friday 14 August]

Christopher Duncan and Joseph Yen with Kate Fitzharris

10 September – 3 October [opening reception Friday 4 September]

Peter Cleverley

8 October – 7 November [opening reception Friday 9 October]

Michael Greaves

12 November – 12 December [opening reception Friday 13 November]