Gary McMillan SECTOR 8 Review by Franky Strachan Printed in the ODT 17/11/11

The four greyscale paintings that comprise “Sector 8” seize the walls of the A Gallery with distinctive temporal intensity. They are realist works, taken from films that the Auckland-based artist has made for the sole purpose of later painting from them. The paintings produced are thus “life-stills” rather than portraits or urban landscapes in the categorical sense. The idea (now successfully accomplished) was to capture natural movements amid visually intelligible, but inconclusive, narrative scenes.Often, in film, one is most captivated by that which is not revealed, and while the beholder is stunned by McMillan’s scrupulous detailing and resolute compositional awareness, they are also left speculating about the wider sequence from which these scenes have been plucked. This focus is emphasised by both the titles of the works (Scene 5, for example) and the title of the exhibition itself – “Sector 8” – which alludes to the post-apocalyptic, sci-fi film genre. Curator Jay Hutchinson was at liberty to orchestrate the works at will and, given the sequential nature of “Sector 8”, he should be given credit for arranging the exhibition in a way that has so smoothly endorsed the integrity and completeness of each piece, while upholding their function in creating a coherent and stimulating whole.


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Conceived as a two-year project, ‘a gallery’ opened in February 2011 at 393 Princes Street, Dunedin and closed in September 2012. Strategically placed south of the center of town nestled between tattoo studios, sex shops and a needle exchange. What was integral in the selection of the gallery space was that it would be able to be viewed from the street through the street level floor to ceiling windows. This would allow the artists showing to be exposed not only to viewers visiting the gallery, but also those walking past, as a gallery was to represent artists that did not fit within the commercial gallery context or the so called experimental project space’s, this would be the best way to expose a particular group of artists selected by gallery curator/manager Jay Hutchinson, artists he respected and admired and felt were not being represented in the gallery scene at the time.

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