• Reuben Paterson

Capturing the moment a firework explodes in the night sky, Auckland based artist Reuben Paterson (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tūhourangi) uses his signature glitter canvases to evoke ideas of wonder, attraction and an interrogation of other.

The inky black backgrounds of this series of works reference the notion of dark matter and Te Kore, a Māori concept used to describe a time and space before light entered the world. Out of this darkness fireworks in skin-toned shades—including the pink of a fresh bruise, erupt energetically from the canvases tracing fiery paths across each work.

On the surface, these works remind us of the celebration associated with firework displays; New Year’s Eve, Guy Fawkes, Matariki and major sporting events such as the America’s Cup. They bring to mind spending time with family, friends and loved ones. Yet, they also hold the tension, potential for danger and unease that explosives bring with them. Do they signal a festival, a protest, an intimate moment shared or a call for help?

Listen to the artist in conversation with curator and The Dowse director Karl Chitham (Ngā Puhi, Te Uriroroi) on the opening weekend of Black Matter.

Opening Hours

  • Open daily, 10am - 5pm


  • 45 Laings Road
  • Lower Hutt, New Zealand