Two Auckland-based artists have collaborated on the latest exhibition at the Sarjeant Gallery.

Sam Mitchell and Gavin Hurley were both Tylee Cottage artists-in-residents in Whanganui in 2015, and have produced an exhibition called Beards, Boys, Platters, Shattered Dreams.

Mr Hurley works in collage and paint, while Ms Mitchell mostly works in ceramics.

Ms Mitchell's contribution to the exhibition focuses on the year 1986 - the first year the Tylee Cottage residency began.


It consists of a series of platters and plates laid out on a table, each one hand-painted with a scene representing Whanganui or 1986. There's former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former United States President Ronald Regan; Halley's Comet; the nuclear accident at Chernobyl; the Homosexual Law Reform Bill; and Tylee Cottage itself.

There's even several ceramic "mixed tapes", referring to the popular 1980s habit of recording songs onto cassette tapes.

Sarjeant Gallery curator Greg Donson described the Ms Mitchell's work as being "like a diary of that year, laid out like a dinner party".

Mr Hurley's works are very different, but also have a strong connection to Whanganui.

Part of his contribution include 12 "bearded boy" portraits. These works are modelled on an old photograph of an unknown school boy. In this series the boy takes on a different personality with the addition of a beard from a Whanganui man.

The beards of John Ballance, Henry Sarjeant, James K Baxter and, more recently, photographer Laurence Aberhart all make an appearance.

There's also a series of moustaches stitched onto locally sourced vintage postcards.

Beards, Boys, Platters, Shattered Dreams runs until November.