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SHANE MCGRATH
AT THE END OF PLAY, 16 AUGUST - 10 SEPTEMBER 2011

Bartley Company Art is pleased to present Shane McGrath's first solo exhibition in the gallery.

{At the end of play} explores issues around the inculcation of religious faith in children and broader communities. The five objects in the exhibition address wide-ranging ideas around religious power and the strategies employed to generate compliance with codes of faith.

In exploring these ideas, McGrath employs a range of found materials and children's toys to create objects that are playful, questioning and, for the most part, gently hard-hitting.

A zepplin clad in the pages of a hymn book captures a sense of romantic nostalgia but its stuck position in the framework of what could be a church suggests anachronistic beliefs struggling to move forward. The Holy Sepulchre, referencing the ancient church in Jerusalem, is made from carefully balanced children's building blocks and comes with a set of plans to enable a new owner to play and reassemble the work in a new location. Other works take as their starting point an old child's sled and the game of pick up sticks.

Viewers are encouraged to experience the works as both child and adult - to take the time to play, daydream and fly freely. Delight and disquiet, reverence and rejection co-exist.

Underlying these ideas is an examination of how individual identity may be established distinct from inherited cultural and religious framework and in this the exhibition is rooted in the artist's own biography. Raised in a staunchly Roman Catholic community in Melbourne where Catholicism was an unquestioned component of identity, McGrath is reflecting on his own loss of faith.

McGrath completed his Master of Fine Arts at Massey University in 2008 and was included in a group exhibition of Massey graduates in the gallery in 2009. In 2010 he won the inaugural Deblyn artist's residency at the Wellington City Council Toi Poneke Gallery and in 2011 was included in the Waiheke Island Sculpture on the Gulf programme. He has been invited to participate in a group sculpture exhibition at City Gallery Wellington in 2012.




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