• Gabby O'Connor

In the Antarctic, moisture particles in the air can freeze and act as tiny prisms, reflecting a rainbow of light that creates twinkling clouds known as ‘diamond dust’. In All the Colours, All the Light, Gabby O’Connor uses these same principles to sculpt with light. Arranging theatre lighting gels into a large geometric form, she transforms the gallery into an immersive kaleidoscope that bathes your senses in colour.

Based in Te Whanganui a Tara Wellington, installation artist Gabby O’Connor’s current research interests involve working with scientists and communities to communicate the connections between art, science, climate and place. Gabby has worked on many collaborative art-sci projects that connect climate change research/ers with art audiences and wider communities. These projects have resulted in participation in Antarctic oceanographic research in McMurdo Sound with scientists from NIWA, Auckland University, and the University of Otago in 2015 and 2016, resulting in a series of exhibitions and publications with the project Studio Antarctica. These Antarctic trips, used for conducting artistic and scientific research, helped to inspire works such as All the Colours, All the Light.

All the Colours, All the Light was first shown in 2017 at the Islamic Arts Festival in Sharjah. It was subsequently shown at the Dowse Art Museum in Wellington, and the third iteration of the work is now being shown at Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum. O’Connor’s practice works closely with the architecture, its limits and possibilities to transform site, materials and the spatial experience of the audience. She uses research of geographic location to inform the installation process, and so each time this work is installed, it changes shape to fit the gallery’s architecture.

Originally from Melbourne, Gabby studied sculpture at the Victorian College of the Arts and gained a Masters of Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts, UNSW. Select exhibitions include City Gallery Wellington, Pātaka Museum+Art, Enjoy, Toi Pōneke, National Library of NZ, Corban Estate Arts Centre, Physics Room, The Suter Art Gallery, The Otago Museum, Sharjah Art Museum UAE, and The North Wall UK and Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne where she was a resident artist in the late 1990s. Gabby is currently completing her transdisciplinary PhD research project, The Unseen, with a touring exhibition, workshop series, and thesis supported by the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge NIWA and the University of Auckland.

Dance through it and drink it in—this work relies on the audience’s visual perception of light waves to exist.

Opening hours

  • Open Daily: 10AM – 4PM
  • Late Night Wednesday: 10AM – 7PM


  • 327 West Street
  • Ashburton, 7700