Topic: Rob Murdoch: An Unusual Tauranga First

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As someone constantly on the lookout for new visual experiences and someone who wants to see the growth of the visual arts in Tauranga generally it's great to see a progressive local gallery exploring fresh new ideas and being prepared to take a risk in bringing the unusual to our city.

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In late 2012 Tauranga sculptor Rob Murdoch approached Mount Maunganui's Lightwave Gallery with a view to exhibiting his work in a solo show..

Rob's work is closely related to the general 'Steampunk' design movement that is beginning to make its presence felt and become very popular in New Zealand.

The genre often references Victorian science fiction novels, in the days when authors could only dream of ray guns, rockets and time travel.

Today's artists create wonderfully zany works that play on the fashions, inventions and imaginings of the Victorian era.

Through initial meetings with Rob, Ken Wright the Director of Lightwave Gallery realised that to give an interesting backstory to Rob's collection of ray guns and fascinating otherworldly things there needed to be something to make the exhibit more than a collection of work hanging on the wall.

They decided to turn it into an art experience with a narrative, props and an audio visual display.

Tauranga sculptor Captain Rob Murdoch prepares for the exhibition.

Ken says, "To give more weight to the idea we invited a "League of Extraordinary Artists" to participate in what will be a very original exhibition and a first for Tauranga".

"This would not only allow other artists to showcase their work but also to add to what was becoming an emerging story, Captain Rob Murdoch - The Dark Side of the Mount.

"The idea is to make some gallery spaces at Lightwave feel more like film set while retaining the feel of an art gallery".

With artworks for sale and at the same time providing visitors with an actual art experience is a fine balance.

This will surely stimulate Ken's own creativity and his thirty years experience in exhibition design and display work are likely to be stunning.

"We will have Captain Rob's study / tele-krono transportator room and a secure vault with dangerous artifacts captured from the farthest corners of the solar system".

"The use of audio visual techniques is essential in creating an atmosphere, and this show is certainly from an "outer atmosphere" says Ken.

Rob Murdoch's Sky Bullet 1 - 2012 - Private Collection

You can find a series of short journals at  that give the background story to Captain Rob.

It was great to discover that the 'The League of Extraordinary Artists' includes a number of Tauranga's most creative artists and personalities..

The amazingly talented Simone Anderson, the highly imaginative Nick Eggleston, inventive new comer Graeme Thompson, Artists Nic Clegg, Ashley Grant, Ken Wright, Clive Armstrong and other notables were keen to be involved in this exhibition with a difference.

For those of you with a taste for the unusual this exhibition is not to be missed.

The exhibition opens on Friday 1st February at Lightwave Gallery, 31 Totara Street, Mount Maunganui and runs until the end of the month. 

Everyone is welcome to join Ken, Karen and the artists for wine and cheese from 6pm onwards. Dressing up in steampunk finery is optional. Bring a friend and your love of imaginative creativity.

For more information email or click on

by Pete Morris (January, 2013).

Pete Morris is an occasional painter and an art lover. He is a freelance writer who has a particular interest in promoting the visual arts in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.




This page archived at Perma Cc in November of 2016:

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Rob Murdoch: An Unusual Tauranga First