Wed 15 Nov 2017

The golden one returns

WITT’s close association with the Taranaki arts scene will be further cemented in the next week with an end of year exhibition – and the return of one of the most talked about pieces of work to be shown in the province.

The Golden Bearing, a four metre sculptured gold-glittered tree, was introduced to the province on the boat shed lawn of Pukekura Park in January 2014 for six months as a public work that kept the community connected to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery while the Len Lye centre was under construction. It had a second showing at the end of that year as a feature of the annual Festival of Lights.

It will be back later this month, on show in the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery from November 25 to January 28.

The Golden Bearing is the creation of WITT tutor Reuben Paterson and it is an inherent part of his recent life journey.

“This golden tree will always be very special to me - it is a tree that became a house,” Reuben Paterson says.

“The Govett-Brewster purchased this tree for Taranaki in 2014 - it is the artwork that bought me here, made me fall in love with not only the West Coast but also my partner. I was able to use funds from the sale of The Golden Bearing as part of the down payment on my home here.’’

The Golden Bearing will be on show for the third time, but when it takes root in the Len Lye centre it will be the first indoor showing. It will return resplendent in a new gold skin, slightly darker, and Reuben Paterson says “more magical”.

Reuben Paterson was in Taranaki as artist in residence in the summer of 2013-14 and spent three months with Govett-Brewster creating The Golden Bearing.

He was also given a studio space at WITT and met WITT’s Creative Technologies programme coordinator Ged Guy and some of the then arts students.

Having moved to Taranaki, he said it was an easy decision to join WITT when Ged Guy contacted him again this year.

“Education has always played an important role in my life. Along with my Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam Art School in Auckland I have a Diploma in Primary School teaching, and taught for two years at Westmere Primary before I gave myself the opportunity to fulfil my dream of working as an artist full time.

“Moving to the regions has become more about being able to give back to my community, and this is one way I believe I can.  I’m nearly 20 years deep into living and working as a full-time artist, so I welcomed the opportunity to impart all this experience to these creative students.”

He is teaching two papers this year at Level 5, including a drawing paper and collaborative paper where the class works together.

“Over the next few weeks you might notice some very innovative, contemporary and challenging installations around WITT grounds.’’

WITT’s own end of year art exhibition, UNfold, will open the day before the reappearance of The Golden Bearing and will run from November 24 through to December 5. It will be feature in WITT News next week.

Reuben Paterson is hugely impressed by the talent at WITT.

“The creativity is inspiring - creativity is a visual language that needs to be seen, to be heard, and I’m very much enjoying what I’m hearing. Our students are up for the challenge to become the future voices of a region that already celebrates the arts in very relevant and practical ways, especially seeing how important The Govett-Brewster and Len Lye Museum is to the future of the arts in NZ,’’ he says.

Illustration: The Golden Bearing (picture provided by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery) and WITT tutor and artist Reuben Paterson.

·         Reuben Paterson features on the cover of the current edition of Art New Zealand where he talks in detail about the garden as a place of inspiration, The Golden Bearing, and his move to New Plymouth.

·         UNfold will feature in the next WITT newsletter out on November 24.