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Canterbury (Art) Trails

The local art scene did it tough for a while after the quakes, with lack of suitable spaces in particular a real problem, but necessity being the mother of invention (particularly in resilient art circles), we’ve seen it bounce back well, with artistic havens popping up in all sorts of places.

With the work of so many outstanding local artists showcased within easy reach, there’s really no excuse for not knowing the local talent – so get out there and uncover the next big thing!


Svetlana Orinko, Japonica Blossoms: Bryce Gallery.

Central City

We may be waiting on the Arts Centre, Christchurch Art Gallery (soon!) and CoCA Gallery (very soon!) to re-open, but that doesn’t mean the central city is bereft of art – far from it. There’s plenty of spectacular new street art to check out, but a whole host of formal establishments, too. Drop into the unique Auricle sound art gallery in New Regent Street, catch up with the latest in art jewellery trends at The National, see what many of the old Arts Centre market artists are up to at Worcester Boulevard’s Boulevard Arts Market, and investigate the latest exhibitions at Canterbury Museum or Frobisher Interiors, which has added a gallery space to sit alongside its interiors showroom and café.


Frobisher Interiors

In Moorhouse Avenue Chambers 241 is a dealer gallery and artists’ studio space that exhibits the work of leading and emerging New Zealand artists, and Kiwi artists are also the focus over at the pop-up Arts Central on Peterborough Street on the old Convention Centre site. The Physics Room is approaching 20 years as a successful gallery space, even if they’ve had to shift from the Arts Centre – these days you can head upstairs after a coffee at C1 Espresso – while the Brooke Gifford Gallery in Cambridge Terrace goes all the way back to 1975. In the north of the city North Projects is an artist-run initiative in Bealey Avenue that operates out of a former dwelling and courtyard that supports the development of new and experimental art practices, and just down the street is PG Gallery 192, a recently opened dealer gallery representing contemporary New Zealand artists.


The Physics Room


Form-Gallery-webThere’s some specialisation southwards – City Art Depot in Disraeli Street focuses its interest on prints and other works on paper (and also offers framing and hanging services), and prints are the name of the game too at New Zealand Fine Prints, while Form Gallery (pictured right: a piece from their upcoming 'Unnatural Selections' exhibition from David Lloyd & Sean Crawford), as its name would suggest, is a showcase for sculpture and object art. Jonathan Smart Gallery relocated to Sydenham in 2013 and continues its mission of showcasing leading contemporary artists working in a wide range of different mediums, and Addington’s Qb Studios offers regularly changing exhibitions (come say hello to the Cityscape team while you’re there!). If you’ve picked something up for home after all this artistic temptation, you can head to Eco Frame and Mirror for a comprehensive framing treatment. If you’re in Lyttelton, pop past Tin Palace (Thu – Sun) to see what the Harbour Arts Collective has got on, while 50 Works Gallery in the old post office is also to soon open.


Dick Frizzell, Dance of the Hooligans (detail): Jonathan Smart Gallery.


You can learn to create artworks of your own via the range of classes available at Art Metro in Papanui – pop into the nearby Art Box Gallery in Loftus Street first for some inspiration – or head further north to check out the work of Greg Morris Woodturner in Woodend and the Iron Ridge Quarry Sculpture Park near Amberley.


Not only a tattoo and body piercing studio but also a gallery, there’s always something interesting to have a look at over at The Tannery’s Absolution. You can check out the latest exhibition at the Eastside Gallery at the Linwood Community Centre, and then enrol in art classes yourself if you get inspired! Ferry Road’s Windsor Gallery offers a comprehensive framing service, but also original art. Keep heading east and you’ll find the community-run Brighton Gallery in Brighton Mall just before you get wet, and there’s more art by the sea at Sumner’s L’Estrange Gallery.


The University of Canterbury’s Ilam Campus Gallery in the Fine Arts Block has developed an excellent reputation with its carefully curated programme of exhibitions; slightly north of the campus you can have a go at creating a bit of fine art of your own at Paint ’n’ Sip. Down Riccarton Road, Bryce Gallery offers regularly changing exhibitions from both established and emerging artists.


Bret de Thier’s Arts Festival Posters 1973/75, exhibition at Ilam Campus Gallery

ROAD TRIP There’s lots to see just outside the city limits, too. Get in the car and out to the Little River Gallery en route to Galley Lavaud, Art Et Fare, Lava Gallery and the Akaroa Arts Gallery in Akaroa, head to Art on the Quay and Fragments of Grace in Kaiapoi, Arts in Oxford, over to the Chamber Gallery and Artist’s Eye Gallery in Rangiora, the Selwyn Gallery in Darfield, and the spanking new Ashburton Art Gallery.

Don’t Miss:

  • Dick Frizzell (pictured above) in September, Heather Straka in October and Megan Jenkinson & Brenda Nightingale in November at Jonathan Smart Gallery.
  • Bryce Gallery’s spring exhibitions include invitational group show ‘Home is where the Heart’ is in September and ‘Tribute to the Masters’ (Galina Kim & Stephanie McEwin) in October/November.
  • Check out sculpture from Wellington’s Johnny Turner on display at Frobisher Interiors.

Art In Spring

What: Black Series II, sculptures and soundscapes by Jason Wright
Where: The Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery, 35 New Regent Street, Central City
When: 3 – 27 Sep

What: Te Whare Maire O Na Punawerewere, Maori art exhibition
Where: Eastside Gallery, 388 Worcester Street, Linwood
When: 7 – 25 Sep

What: Boundaries, new work from Asher Boardman
Where: Absolution Gallery, The Tannery, Woolston
When: 7 Sep – 3 Oct

What: SCAPE 8 – New Intimacies, public art walkway
Where: Corner of Gloucester and Colombo Streets, Central City
When: 3 Oct – 15 Nov

What: Sculpture on the Peninsula, biennial contemporary sculpture exhibition
Where: Louden Farm, Charteris Bay Rd, Teddington
When: 6 – 8 Nov

Joel-HartARTIST PROFILE: JOEL HART Christchurch artist Joel Hart’s immediately recognisable style combines influential images of the past and present to create a sense of raw emotion and passion captured in his female subjects.

Catch Hart’s contemporary and grungy stencil and print acrylics around themes of love and death at Qb Studios in November.


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Guest 18 January 2018