All is not as it seems in Whanganui sculptor Glen Hayward's latest exhibition.

Super Ordinary is showing at the i-Site Gallery in Taupo Quay until September 4.

Visitors to the exhibition will be greeted by 'super ordinary' objects: paint tins, a recycling bin, a stool, a basketball, an animal skull, the paraphernalia of an office.

What makes these objects unusual is that they are all carved from wood.


It's difficult for viewers to comprehend at first that every thing in this exhibition - from the computer cord to the office chair to the fire extinguisher to the paint roller - is entirely made from wood.

Mr Hayward said he enjoys getting people to think about the ordinary objects around them.

"Next time you go to your office, or take out a paint tin, is there a different appreciation for the fact that the thing in front of you has been manufactured, it has a history, it was made by a technician? The world that we inhabit is artificial - for example, an office has no natural elements at all."

The exhibition includes two rat skulls - one large and one tiny.

"I didn't think I'd be able to make a small skull, so I carved the big one. Then as my skills got better I thought I'd try it. When you work on something on such a small scale you seem to fall into it. There's this lovely sense of losing yourself in it."

The objects are made from a variety of woods - anything from kauri to MDF. They date from 2000 onwards.

The show includes a collection of items from Mr Hayward's time in Whanganui as the Tylee Cottage artist-in-residence in 2014. These objects are ones that Mr Hayward found in local op shops and altered to fit his purpose.

Mr Hayward was born and raised in Whanganui. He moved to Auckland to study at Elam School of Fine Arts. He returned to live in Whanganui shortly after his Tylee Cottage residency.

"One of the things about modern art schools is that they're not skills-based; they're ideas-based. But I managed to cling desperately to my skill and my fascination with carving throughout my studies."

His obsession with wood began when he was a teenager and his art teacher asked him to carve a piece of wood.

"And I fell in love with it, and kept going with it."