light switch and conduit

The Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection

9 April 2016 - 14 August 2016

This exhibition explores the relationship between artworks and the domestic context by delving into the personal collection of Jim Barr and Mary Barr. Light switch and conduit focuses on their recent period of collecting and brings together works by key figures in the rising generation of contemporary New Zealand artists, alongside more established New Zealand artists and several international artists as well. This exhibition includes work by Dan Arps, Fiona Connor, Simon Denny, Oscar Enberg, Glen Hayward, Kate Newby, Campbell Patterson and Luke Willis Thompson.

The Dunedin Public Art Gallery has had a longstanding relationship with Wellington-based art collectors Jim Barr and Mary Barr since 1997, when they generously offered 120 works to the Gallery on long-term loan and gifted 30 works to the Gallery’s permanent collection. Since then, as their private collection shifts and grows, there have been periodic changes and additions to both the Gallery’s long-term loan and permanent collections. Light switch and conduit, which focuses on Jim and Mary’s recent period of collecting, celebrates and highlights their collection and their ongoing support for the arts in New Zealand. 

The nature of a private art collection means that, more often than not, the artworks are brought into the collector’s home; sharing this private space with both the occupants and their other possessions and furnishings. The exhibition explores the relationship between artworks and the domestic context; in the space the works inhabit, their materiality, and the conceptual underpinning of the works themselves. It is the very essence of materiality, the hand-crafted, the fabricated or the found; the fragility and vulnerability of the objects; and the exploration of space, assemblage, and replication that anchor the works in this exhibition together in a dynamic conversation. 

Download the exhibition catalogue

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