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Matthew Couper: The Whaling And Naching Of Teeth


Sat 10 Nov 2012, 10:00am–2:00pm
Wed 14 Nov 2012, 10:00am–5:00pm
Thu 15 Nov 2012, 10:00am–5:00pm
Fri 16 Nov 2012, 10:00am–5:00pm
Sat 17 Nov 2012, 10:00am–2:00pm

Where: Paulnache, Upstairs 89 Grey St, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay / Gisborne

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: PAULNACHE

PAULNACHE presents Matthew Couper: The Whaling and Naching of Teeth, 19 October – 17 November 2012

New Zealand-born, Las Vegas-based artist Matthew Couper will open his seventh solo exhibition with Gisborne gallery PAULNACHE on Friday the 19th of October at 6pm. The artist will be in attendance for the opening and will present a special artist talk and painting demonstration on Saturday 20th of October at 11am-12:30pm (limited spaces are available so RSVP is essential. Email:

The Whaling And Naching Of Teeth features a number of incised scrimshaw teeth and brand-new paintings on canvas and metal recently completed in Las Vegas, USA. The title of the exhibition alludes the fear of the end of the world as predicted by the Mayan calendar and the biblical reference of ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth’ found in the New Testament of Matthew. The outer darkness mentioned in the verses could also allude to the artist’s move away from his country of birth.

The exhibition centres around the eight scrimshanded teeth, adorned by familiar symbols and narratives used by Couper over the last decade. The symbols and narratives are reiterated in four large paintings on canvas and a series of smaller works. Couper’s works delves into notions of social and internal burdens, capitalism, transplantation and making sense of his new context of hyper-simulated Las Vegas. The paintings are rendered in Couper’s own interpretation of Spanish Colonial painting from the Baroque period.

‘…These dark subjects are depicted with the objectivity of an outsider, but there are no solutions, no excuses — it’s more of a recap of the current state of affairs. Mixed with the artist’s experiences and survival struggles in both Las Vegas and New Zealand, the works function as elaborate journal entries.’ - Las Vegas art critic Jenessa Kenway.