Driven up the wall in the name of art

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Artist Mark Braunias is reaching for the sky.

He is creating a wall-size work – Assemble, Disassemble, Reassemble – in the foyer of the Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage Centre.

To create the work, Braunias, who has his studio in Kawhia in the Waikato, works from a cage on a scissor lift operated by gallery curator Shirin Khosraviani.

She and another staff member got their tickets to operate the lift last year in readiness for Braunias’ work.

The public can see Braunias at work until January 17.

Braunias was the inaugural winner of the Wallace Art Award and is no stranger to working on walls, or in Ashburton, where he worked on a project in the old gallery about a decade ago.

He is happy to be back.

Braunias said he was in Christchurch in late 2015 and decided to come back to Ashburton.

“I looked at that wall and it looked like a big canvas and I put in a verbal proposal.”

A year later, Braunias is working in the space, surrounded by dozens of tiny pots of paint and 21 oblong drawings he created in his studio and which are recreated here.

“It’s the classical A4 shape, but exploded.”

He has created wall art in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Southland, but it is anything but his normal format.

Braunias said the work tracked life; how things start out, become something – archaeology and morphism with a twist.

He said the viewer, hopefully, would get a sense of things moving and changing shape, a cross between abstraction and figuration.

With the work created to scale, Braunias is driven up and down the wall by Ms Khosraviani, who describes him as a tireless worker. Braunias said he had to keep going as he had to work to a schedule.

Ms Khosraviani said it was so good to have an artist of Braunias’ calibre working with a regional gallery.