Perched high on a ladder surrounded by scaffolding, artist John Reynolds has made quite an impression on visitors to Auckland Art Gallery in the last week; after all, it's not every day someone paints on the windows of the award-winning building.

But the vibrant rectangles on the gallery's South Atrium windows, which look out to Albert Park, are one of four major new projects launched this month at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, all by contemporary artists.

Called The Violet Hour, Reynolds aims to create a "veil" over the glass which filters the natural light and creates colourful effects. It's also a nod toward his long-standing interest in the work of painter Colin McCahon. Reynolds will work at the gallery until Saturday while his resulting art will remain on show for months to come.

Other artists to have work unveiled include Sara Hughes who created the 550 or so glass panels which surround the New Zealand International Convention Centre and miraculously survived last month's devastating fire.

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Artist John Reynolds presents a new site-specific painting installation, The Violet Hour, in Auckland Art Gallery's South Atrium. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Artist John Reynolds presents a new site-specific painting installation, The Violet Hour, in Auckland Art Gallery's South Atrium. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Hughes has made up an interactive art game, which uses coloured magnetic shapes that can be arranged into abstract patterns, for the gallery's Creative Learning Centre. All My Favourite Shapes, first created for Dunedin Public Art Gallery, was inspired by childhood magnetic board games and her own children's wooden blocks.

Meanwhile, a blue resin-cast moa now lies on one of the gallery's outdoor terraces. Sorawit Songsataya made the sculptural installation, where a moa is surrounded by native and endemic birds, to explore our relationship with native species and reflect on the many ways we view them.

On Saturday, the gallery unveils a new text-based light sculpture by Scottish artist Nathan Coley called A Place Beyond Belief. Coley specialises in taking words or phrases from their original context and placing them in public spaces, almost as part of the architecture. This work, made in 2012, will stand billboard style on a large scaffold in the gallery's North Atrium.