We are pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Alan Ibell, A New Mountain.

The works in A New Mountain explore ideas of knowledge and self-knowledge by excavating the image of the mountain as a site of enlightenment. Well-established in scriptural and mythological narratives as a location of divine wisdom, mountains are here invoked to question whether such wisdom is obtainable or even desirable in today’s world.

Alan’s regular motifs, the landscape, the portal, the vessel, and the figure — along with its fractured shadow, all resurface in this grand new suite of paintings — perhaps Alan’s most ambitious works to date. The scale allows us to immerse ourselves in the seductive and contemplative qualities of his brushwork and expanse of landscape.

In the work that lends the exhibition its name (the largest Alan has ever painted), a lone figure stands on a stark plateau, her shadow disproportionate as she peers into a clouded mirror or perhaps a portal, waiting for its opacity to resolve. Behind her looms the familiar mountainous landscape, except that something is different, ‘new’ about it. The expanse of black filling the top half of the canvas suggests a starless sky, a void, or an emblem of the unconscious.

A New Mountain furthers Ibell’s longstanding interest in the correspondence and conflict between the inner and outer facets of the self. As the viewer moves from work to work, each canvas is at times dominated by a figure and at times by the landscape, suggesting the constant tussle between ego and id, and the fragility of the narratives we construct about our place in the world.

A text by Hannah August and a video by Fraser Walker will accompany the exhibition.


  • Thu 15 Sep


  • 5:30 pm — 7:30 pm


  • Level 1 Mibar Building
  • 85 Victoria Street
  • Te Aro, Wellington 6011