Reuben Paterson Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tūhourangi | New Zealand, b. 1973

Reuben Paterson’s dynamic artwork has been dazzling viewers for the past two and a half decades. Working across painting, sculpture & video, his visually hypnotic and conceptually nuanced artwork has become widely known and celebrated. He is a leading artist of his generation. 


Curator Aaron Lister has stated, “Paterson uses the transformative properties of light to reach beyond appearances and pry open the complex histories and tensions that sit just beneath the surface of all things. His art is made in celebration of exchange and encounter, hybridity and fluidity, spirituality and sexuality, and is especially attuned to the dynamics of queer identity and whakapapa-based modes of cultural knowledge.” This rich tapestry of cultural touch points allows viewers to read his work in myriad ways.


Paterson completed a postgraduate degree, Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 1997. Subsequently, he was awarded New Zealand’s prestigious Moet et Chandon Award, which included a residency in Avize, France. Paterson has exhibited nationally and internationally since 2000.   In 2023, Paterson's first survey exhibition The Only Dream Left, curated by Aaron Lister and Karl Chitham, opened at City Gallery, Wellington | Te Whare Toi. 


Paterson has also staged solo exhibitions at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū (2022) and The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt (2020), and has featured in significant group exhibitions such as the largest survey of contemporary Māori art, Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (2020); Contemporary Asian and Pacific Art, The National Gallery of Victoria, Australia (2016); and E Tu Ake, the Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, Paris, France; the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand; Museo Nacional las Culturas, Mexico City, Mexico; and Musee de la Civilisation, Quebec City, Canada (2011-13). Paterson has participated in major international  art fairs and biennales, including The Beauty of Distance: Songs of survival in a precarious age, 17th Biennial of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (2010); Asia Pacific Triennial, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (2009); nEUclear Reactions, Prague Biennial, Czech Republic (2010); and the 9th Pacific Biennial, Republic of Palau (2001). Paterson’s recent public art commissions include Guide Kaiārahi at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (2021-26). Rising vertically from the gallery’s forecourt pool, the stunning 10-metre-high crystal Waka casts a galaxy of stars over the gallery and beyond. Combining references to natural and supernatural realms, the crystal sculpture draws upon Māori cosmology and creation narratives. Other commisons include Te Maiea, Aotea Square, Auckland (2021); and The Golden Bearing, Puketerata Garden of National Significance, Taranaki, New Zealand (2016). His works are housed in major public and private collections across Australasia. Paterson’s commitment to reaching outside of the art world and connecting art, industry, fashion and politics has led to long term collaborations with New Zealand’s WORLD Fashion house and Dilana Rugs.


Reuben Paterson lives and works in New York City.  Some information courtesy Gow Langsford Gallery.


BCA | Bergman Gallery has represented Reuben Paterson since 2010.