Local Culture: Whenua Hou: New Maori Ceramics

20170617_124004The space above the local information centre acts as an extension of the public art gallery, currently located across the road while earthquake-strengthening work is carried out on the original building, constructed in 1919 (earthquake strengthening is a national obsession at the moment due to the devastating effects of two severe earthquakes in the last six years. The local museum is also closed, and the local opera house reopened last year after it was strengthened. But I digress).

Currently on display is a selection of ceramic work by Maori artists. Pottery and ceramics were introduced to New Zealand by European settlers in the 1800s, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that they really caught on among Maori artists, but as this exhibition shows the results have been marvellous. Continue reading “Local Culture: Whenua Hou: New Maori Ceramics”

New Zealand Artist: Rita Angus

Rita Angus, Cass, 1936
Rita Angus, Cass, 1936

Rita Angus (1908-1970) is well-known in New Zealand for her clear, sharp-edged portraits and landscapes, including ‘Cass’, which was voted New Zealand’s favourite painting in a 2006 TV show. Rather than talking about her, I’m just going to show you a few of her paintings. Continue reading “New Zealand Artist: Rita Angus”

New Zealand Artist: Colin McCahon

Colin McCahon (1919-1987) is one of New Zealand’s most prominent artists. He was one of a group of artists who introduced Modernism into New Zealand, and is perhaps best-known for his large-scale works, often in muted, earthy tones or shades of black, white, and grey, which layered text over a background image.

McCahon Urewera Mural 1976
Colin McCahon, Urewera Mural, 1976

Continue reading “New Zealand Artist: Colin McCahon”

Recommended Read: Female Artists in History (Facebook page)

into-the-light-14-by-marion-van-nieuwpoort-2007
Into the Light-14, by Marion van Nieuwpoort, 2007. Love the contrast in this painting: stillness and movement, washed-out neutrals and bright pinks.

I’ve been following the Female Artists in History Facebook page for several months now, and wanted to share it here for anyone who might be interested. Curated by two women, Christa Zaat and Carel Ronk, the page presents works, primarily paintings, by women artists along with brief biographies.

And it turns out there are a lot of them. All the well-known names are there: Artemisia Gentileschi, Frida Kahlo, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keefe… but there are also heaps of names that I (and probably you) have never come across before. Continue reading “Recommended Read: Female Artists in History (Facebook page)”

Summer Holidays #4: Exploring Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Art Gallery.pngAlthough I had gone to the Auckland Art Gallery specifically to see the Lindauer portraits it seemed rather a shame to leave without checking out some of the other exhibitions, so we didn’t. In this post I’ll be recording a few brief impressions of the other exhibitions we saw at the Gallery.

After our experience with modern sculpture at Brick Bay, we decided to largely eschew the modern art exhibitions and focus our attention on primarily on art from before the start of the 20th century. Fortunately, the Auckland Art Gallery is large and has numerous exhibitions to choose from. Continue reading “Summer Holidays #4: Exploring Auckland Art Gallery”

Local Culture: Richard Wootton’s ‘Marking Time: Portraits of the Inked’ at the Sarjeant Gallery

I’m pleased to report that I’m safely home from Kaikoura, and diving back into my local art scene.

richard-wotton-morgan-tompsett-wellington-2016
Richard Wootton, ‘Morgan Tompsett’, Wellington 2016

Back in 2009, the New Zealand media reported that one in five adult New Zealanders was tattooed, with the rate rising to just over one in three for people aged 18 to 30. Tattoo, (or ‘moko’ in te reo Maori) played a significant role in traditional Maori and Polynesian culture, and although it went into decline during the early to mid- twentieth century, the Maori cultural renaissance of the late 20th century brought the art form back into the New Zealand mainstream. In addition to, or possibly coat-tailing on, this change, tattoo has also gained a significant place in contemporary European (‘White’) New Zealand culture. Continue reading “Local Culture: Richard Wootton’s ‘Marking Time: Portraits of the Inked’ at the Sarjeant Gallery”

A Very Short History of Art: Into Modernity

Lautrec_marcelle_lender_doing_the_bolero_in_'chilperic'_1895
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, ‘Marcelle Lender Doing the Bolero in ‘Chilperic’, 1895

Even before the First World War, not everyone in the world of art was cocooned in the golden haze of Impressionism. As early as the 1880s, just a decade after the term ‘Impressionist’ had been coined, another group of artists were producing work which would collectively come to be identified as ‘Post-Impressionist’. Continue reading “A Very Short History of Art: Into Modernity”