Shane Cotton: The Hanging Sky

City Gallery Wellington from 15 June until 6 October

Touring Australia and New Zealand 2012–13

Cotton's skyscapes are some of the most haunting and ambitious New Zealand paintings of the past decade. The Hanging Sky brings them together with a spectacular body of new work.

Since the early 1990s Shane Cotton (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hine, Te Uri Taniwha) has been one of New Zealand's most acclaimed painters of landscape and memory. In the mid-2000s, however, his work headed in an unexpected direction – skywards. Employing a sombre new blue-black palette, Cotton painted the first in a major series of skyscapes – vast, nocturnal spaces where birds speed and plummet. Since then the series has become increasingly complex and ambitious, incorporating ragged red skywriting as well as ghostly 'marked heads'. Combining major recent paintings with a spectacular body of new work, The Hanging Sky showcases Cotton's faith in painting as a space of possibility and provocation – a place of leaps, freefalls and charged collisions between images.

Organised and toured by Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū in association with the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

Shane Cotton: The Hanging Sky was exhibited at the IMA, Brisbane, from 8 December 2012 until 2 March 2013, and Campbelltown Arts Centre, NSW, from 23 March to 19 May 2013.