Reuben Paterson – The Only Dream Left

The largest exhibition of renowned New Zealand artist Reuben Paterson is coming to City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi

The world-bending practice of New Zealand artist Reuben Paterson (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tūhourangi) will be shown in his largest exhibition to date, The Only Dream Left, at City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi.

Spanning 25 years, the exhibition will showcase Paterson's extensive range, from painting to sculpture, installation, and animation. This major exhibition includes new and lesser-known works, and a number of celebrated pieces pulled from collections across Aotearoa.

Known for his range of kaleidoscopic colours, forms, and effects, Paterson's works explore a range of complex themes, issues, and tensions via his signature material – glitter. Each work delves into a range of issues, from the clash of bodies, to desires, cultures, spirituality, and sexuality. With a focus on the dynamics of queer identity, Paterson's work is also grounded in his whakapapa and Te Ao Māori.

I believe much of the work I have created over the past 25 years is finally being understood and accepted - perhaps even for the first time.

Reuben Paterson

For the first time, audiences in Te Whanganui-a-Tara will be able to gather beneath and experience The Golden Bearing, a four-and-a-half-metre tall gold-glittered tree. Originally commissioned for display in Ngāmotu, New Plymouth's botanical gardens, this will be the first time this beloved sculpture will be exhibited alongside Paterson’s other works.

Speaking on The Only Dream Left, Paterson said "this exhibition has become a space to proclaim my voice, and I am so very excited to be able to share and introduce my artistic journey and the ideas, encounters and experiences that have inspired me over the years".

The exhibition is curated by Aaron Lister and Karl Chitham, Director of the Dowse Art Museum, and will be on display at City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi from 25 February–18 June 2023.

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