For the four years that Sumer occupied its space on Tauranga’s Waihirere Lane, it was instantly recognisable for the black-and-white abstract wall painting that descended down the gallery façade like an Escher staircase. The piece, by the Dutch artist Jan van der Ploeg, was a loud avowal of the gallery’s presence, and of contemporary art more generally, in the growing city.
After closing their Tauranga outfit at the end of last year, Sumer opened at new premises in late May on Tāmaki Makaurau’s Beach Road, where the original shoreline of the Waitematā Harbour used to run. To mark the gallery’s heritage, and that of their new home and its surroundings, they invited van der Ploeg to create a new work on the space’s exterior. WALL PAINTING No. 534, Untitled (2023) is a characteristically simple geometric abstraction that nods to place, bisecting the façade with a purple triangle like a nautical flag, perhaps signalling for Sumer both an altering of course and an ongoing commitment to their roster of intergenerational, cross-disciplinary artists.