ARTIS Gallery is the host gallery for Medal Art New Zealand (MANZ) – a group of New Zealand’s leading contemporary sculptors. This 2019 biennial exhibition has thirty-four artists presenting medals and /or small sculptures.
“The making of medals in the past evolved from the early traditions of metal coinage. Today it is an increasingly diverse practice, in subject matter, form, techniques and materials. This diversity is demonstrated in the works that make up this exhibition and is also reflective of the varied practices of the members of Medal Art New Zealand and the invited guest exhibitors.
A compact art form, the medal can address history, commemorate an illustrious person, a significant event, or act as a personal memento. Regardless of the subject matter or technique, the contemporary medal demonstrates a concentration of the maker’s mind and a honing of information down to the essential – made for handling and contemplation.
These days a large variety of geometric shapes are acceptable forms for art medals, but the use or reference to the circle continues to be the most accepted or preferred. Traditionally, medals must be produced as editions and made of permanent materials, such as bronze, silver or gold, but other materials may be used. With technological advances, these materials are quite varied – steel, glass, marble and porcelain for example. The main requirement is that they are durable.”
Michael Reed – Curator 2019