OUSA City Gallery Crawl

OUSA City Gallery Crawl

Every year OUSA hosts the City Gallery Crawl. It is a night to explore the diversity of the visual art scene in Dunedin. Galleries open late, many have free drink and food, and every one has a feast for the eyes. You can either wander round the galleries at your leisure, or meet at the Dunedin School of Art at 5pm for a free van ride to town from 5:30pm

You don’t need a ticket—just turn up! 
Date: Thursday 18 August 
Time: 5pm-late (various closing times) 
Price: Free
Critic was lucky enough to visit some the following galleries participating in the crawl:

Studio 110 -  a welcoming space for Dunedin artists with crafty retail
Moray Gallery - an established, traditional dealer gallery and quality local art
Quadrant Gallery - packed with amazing glasswork, pottery, and jewellery 
Kiki Beware -  Black Memories
Mint Gallery - fresh work from local (via France) Expressionist Sandra Bianciardi
Blue Oyster - thought provoking and experimental art in a non-commercial space
Brett McDowell - adored Dunedin artist Jim Cooper’s exclusive one night show
Geoff's Studio - experimental group exhibition from nearby artist studios
Glorybox - multi-disaplinary studio that challenges the conservative canon of art
Shoe School - displays the tools and fruits of Lou Clifton's shoe workshop
Inge Doesburg - group show from artist residency on Stuart Island.
Gallery De Novo - friendly dealer gallery with exquisite, contemporary NZ art

Lower Stuart St

Lower Stuart St has three galleries open late, & quirky cafe Morning Magpie

Gallery De Novo

Liz Fraser and her business partner Richelle Byers opened Gallery De Novo 12 years ago after working at galleries in London. “We try to have a very welcoming environment,” says Liz, “We don’t want people to think they have to come in and buy because we want people to experience the artwork as a source of inspiration or escape for the day”.

Liz took us downstairs where they store artwork and also frame the pictures. It’s nice to see the practical side of art dealership: the tools and materials used for framing are a reminder of the skill involved in hanging art.

This week De Novo is exhibiting an extension of their winter group show of 25 artists from Dunedin and other places in New Zealand, England, Ireland, and Australia. Liz and Richelle love the Gallery Crawl because it brings in a crowd of people who may not usually visit galleries.

Inge Doesburg

Inge Doesburg opened her space as a printmaking studio 20 years ago with her business partner Jo Ogier who has since shifted away. She has run the space alone for 13 years, working out the back on a beautiful printing press in a tiny studio while the gallery is open in front.  “I quite like showing work that’s not mainstream. I have got some very established artists as well, but I also like showing work that isn’t being seen by people in other galleries”. Inge exhibits work of people she has known for years as well as younger artists who make interesting work of high quality.

This week Inge Doesburg is housing a touring show by Solander Gallery, who sent artists to Stewart Island for a residency. The artists returned to their hometowns in Dunedin, Wellington, and Auckland to produce work inspired by the trip. Inge was among the artists who went to the island, and the exhibition will include her trademark black oval prints on white paper.

Albell Chambers

The stairs next door to Albar on Stuart St, lead to studio spaces open late on Thursday  for your art-seeking pleasure 

Geoff's Studio

Geoff’s studio is an experimental project space. “It’s pretty open to anyone exhibiting in here”. Aroha Novak describes it as “a testing ground” as the studio doesn’t have set rules, timeframes for exhibits, or overarching authority.

This week Geoff’s is hosting a group show, including Aroha's work. Other artists in the exhibition are Guy Howard-Smith who has a studio in the Allbell Chambers building and does, according to Aroha, “Amazing, intense paintings”, a ceramicist called Elise Johnston who will be showing topographical works on the subject of ecology, electronic artist Leben Young, musician and artist Motoko Kikkawa, and designers Lou Clifton and Señorita Awesumo.

Motoko Kikkawa will be playing violin at the exhibition in the evening of the Gallery Crawl, Lou Clifton will have some of her shoes in alongside her shoe school and Señorita Awesumo will be showing clothes.

Shoe School

Lou’s studio is tiny and smells of leather. Lou takes classes of four people in her workshop. She has one main sewing machine, plus three old hand-crank Singer machines. She says some people don’t like the loud electric motor, and prefer the Singers. “Lots of people come and do the workshop almost as a therapy. The idea of sitting here sewing with an old singer machine is relaxing”.

The Shoe School studio open this week for people to look in. She will have her handmade shoes, tools and machines on display.

Lou has been making shoes for six years and launched her business in December. She made hundreds of pairs of kids’ shoes to raise money to pay for her equipment and trips overseas where she has trained. Lou trained under famous Japanese shoemaker Takano Keitaro. She can’t speak Japanese so his assistant translated a lot for her, though “there was a lot of finger pointing”.

The Octagon

The galleries are a little hidden from the main street, Quadrant Gallery, in particular, is a little gem worth turning the corner for


“There’s always us, and then we bring in some outside artists as well”.  Maggie Covell, Kassandra Lynne, and Jo Little are Glorybox, a collective who put on group exhibitions accompanied by musicians and performers.

Maggie does street-art style drawings and paintings influenced by pop art and graphic illustration, from tiny greeting-card size to massive murals. “Street art is a “low-brow” art form. Gallery spaces are always “high-brow”. The artists they represent do a certain kind of work. We are unrepresented artists. That’s why we do what we do”.

Glorybox put different forms of artistic expression together. “Most galleries are sterile institutional spaces, where it’s very quiet and you have to act a certain way”. Glorybox takes art outside of those bounds.

Studio 110 

Studio 110 is a friendly space run by Jessica Jack. Jessica teaches speech, drama, photography, and music in the studio during the week, and the space is open for the public to view the visual art.

Studio 110 is filled with paintings, photography, jewellery, and handmade clothing designed, painted, and created by Dunedin artists. “We all know each other,” says Jessica. “Anyone’s welcome to put things up. If they enjoy making things they may as well show it. We have painters who have been painting for years, people who have only just started, students, retired people, everyone’s welcome”.

Jessica found that a lot of artists rely on galleries and have to be part of an art society. “It’s very dependent on other people. I’m an artist myself and I like being able to do whatever I want and not have to paint for other people.” She wanted a space where people feel welcome and can gain confidence by showing their work. This week Studio 110 is displaying a range of local art and craft from Dunedin artists.

Moray Gallery

Moray Gallery has a strong regional focus. The gallery is 44 years old, and the current owners have been there for two and a half years. They have a monthly exhibition. Before Art Week Moray Gallery displayed a 64-year-old artist’s first solo show.

This week Moray Gallery are exhibiting work by a group of local photographers called “The Photo Show”. The show is a fundraiser for The Caselberg Trust, a foremost residency for artists, writers and composers.

Moray Gallery specialises in traditional and local art. The work on display is technically fabulous and beautifully presented. Onwer John Timmings chooses the works based on whether they will suit the gallery. They go to the Otago Art Society exhibitions, look at the work on offer and invite people to exhibit.

John advice to young artists is “Keep producing, don’t get disheartened. You’re not going to sell $2500 works straight away. Start small, get out there, see what other artists are doing”.

Quadrant Gallery

Quadrant gallery specialises in 3D work. Owners David Mcleod and Anne Jackman choose work that has “an expressive quality to it—the distinct fingerprint of the maker”. It’s not just about design, it’s about objects with personality and a story behind it.

Quadrant doesn’t tend to have many exhibitions, but they have changing stock all the time. David is trained as a sculptor, carver and jewellery maker, he has large sculptural work inpublic spaces around Dunedin, including in the Dental School foyer and on campus.
All the work in Quadrant is made by New Zealand artists. There is a lot of glass work and minuature sculptures of glass pieces shaped like New Zealand lollies—jet planes and mint leaves —and folded “paper cranes” made of fused glass.

David encourages people to engage with the objects to help them connect to the artworks. “People often come in with children and tell them not to touch anything - I find the most interesting things to put in their hands”.

Moray Place

Head down Studio 2 & Caroline Freeman Studios are the outskirts and make your way back via Mint Gallery & bohemian Dog With Two Tails

Mint Gallery

Murray Eskdale has had Mint gallery for five years. Mint is small with wooden floors and large windows where work can be displayed to passers-by on Moray Place. Mint gallery shows work from emerging artists, students and recent graduates, and often has  non-traditional art, conceptual art, and photography which may not be seen in more conventional galleries.

Every two weeks there’s something different at Mint. Interspered between solo shows the gallery’s seminal stock artists’ work is on display and includes artists Brendan Jon Philip, Craig Freeborn, and Blue Black. This gives Murray the chance to show lots of artists, and to remind people of solo shows the gallery has had in the past.

This week Mint has a solo exhibition, "Exploration" by Sandra Biancardi. Bianciardi is originally from France and has exhibited in Paris, but now lives in Dunedin. Her works are oil paintings with a very European influence. This exhibition features New Zealand subjects and the work has been produced in Dunedin.

Dowling St

Blue Oyster Art Project Space 

“We are here for Young emerging and experimental artists to present new and innovative work". Blue Oyster are not for profit and non-commercial. This means the artists are not constrained by the need to sell work. This week Blue Oyster is hosting two solo exhibitions by artists Daegan Wells and Connah Podmore.

Daegan has sculpture, video, archival prints from Bill Sutton (a famous NZ painter). “He rolled around the red-zone in Christchurch collecting stuff, including from Bill Sutton’s old house”. 
Connah has been researching Tunnel beach. She makes text-responses to things and puts them on the wall, screws them up, does performative reading.

“It’s interesting to get different insights and different perspectives of things. That’s definitely what we are about in terms of ethos - gaining different perspectives, perspectives in understanding, different ways of looking at things”.

Brett McDowell Gallery

We found Brett getting ready for a Billy Apple exhibition. He had just finished arranging wine glasses on a perfectly square table. Apple had not let him fold out to full size or fill the wine glasses. He wanted clean glasses on a square table for Brett to fill as people needed them.

"Art has become fashionable unfortunately, it was not cool at all when I started out". Brett started in the business 20 years ago when he was 19. He has stacks of artwork crammed around his computer and antique chair where he works out the back of the gallery.

Brett McDowell has a one night show this week by long-time friend and adored Dunedin artist Jim Cooper, titled “Jim Cooper - Trip to Denmark Bazaar”. Cooper makes large, colourful pottery figures that have become iconic in Dunedin. "Jim is everybody's idea of the eccentric artist. He looks like one, sounds like one, lives like one”

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2016.
Posted 3:05pm Monday 15th August 2016 by Critic.