Art & Architecture
Art New Zealand

Art New Zealand Summer 2019

New Zealand’s most respected and widely-read visual arts magazine, Art New Zealand presents an independent quarterly round-up of the visual arts in New Zealand, by the country’s best art writers.

New Zealand
Art New Zealand 2009 Ltd
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4 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
summers (1947–2019)

I first came across Llew Summers in the mid-1980s when he exhibited at Auckland’s Aberhart North Gallery. The works, carved in marble and wood (alongside several cast in bronze), were small in size and reflected characters in various modes of sporting activities (scoring a try, holding a cricket bat, running). With their radical foreshortening and fine modelling they were both witty and engaging. I wrote about the exhibition and Llew’s work for Art New Zealand, noting how odd it was that, in a nation as sport obsessed as ours, few artists tackled such in their work. I visited Llew at his Christchurch home that summer and a friendship sprang up. It lasted until his death at the age of 72 at the beginning of August. Llew grew up in Christchurch with…

3 min.
quentin macfarlane (1935–2019)

The artist Quentin Macfarlane, arguably New Zealand’s greatest marine painter, died in Auckland on 5 July 2019 after a brief illness; he was 83. Although he lived in Auckland for the past two decades, Quentin was more closely associated with Christchurch during the most active period of his career from the 1960s through the 1980s. Born in Dunedin (his mother, Tui North, was a painter who studied with R.N. Field), he spent his high-school years in Lower Hutt where he was taught by legendary teacher James Coe. He attended art school in Christchurch from 1954 to 1957 during the period when it transferred from the city to Ilam in the north-west suburbs. Among his cohort at art school were Pat Hanly, Gill Taverner (Hanly), Bill Culbert, Hamish Keith, John Coley, Trevor…

3 min.
harvey benge (1944–2019)

I first met Harvey Benge ten years ago, and he fast became one of my closest friends. He was a person who cared deeply about ethics, who couldn’t stand pretension, and treated people fairly. The sharpness of his wit was unrivalled, and only increased over the years as he honed his repertoire of absurd idioms such as ‘what do you know?’, ‘you’ve got to laugh’ and ‘there it is’. Whether he was talking to students or one of the many artists he knew, he listened with genuine care and interest. And despite our 40-year age difference, he always treated me as an equal, and a friend. His ease in making connections is evident in the portraits of strangers and friends made during his extensive travels, and in his impact on the…

22 min.

Auckland Paul Martinson Moa Sanderson Contemporary 10–29 September RICHARD WOLFE The moa of New Zealand have endured a double indignity; extinction at the hands of this country’s earliest human settlers and then misrepresentation by its artists. The first published image of the bird appeared in 1867 in a book by German-Austrian geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter, who had spent nine months in this country in 1859. That landmark image, of a towering giraffe-like bird, established a pattern which was perpetuated by lofty skeletal arrangements and reconstructions in museums around the world. Since then science has reconfigured the shape of the moa, granting it a much lower and more ground-hugging posture. It has also drastically reduced the number of known species; it was once believed there were as many as 38, but the currently accepted figure…

23 min.
wood steel land & water

Virginia King is a New Zealand sculptor who, for 30 years, has transformed private and public spaces both here and overseas, with her often large structures in steel and wood. Natural forms provide inspiration for her work; stewardship of the environment and a celebration of its flora and fauna are ongoing motifs. Earlier this year she took up the invitation to show at Palazzo Bembo in Venice, alongside artists from more than 50 countries, in a Biennale Collateral exhibition titled Personal Structures. Don Abbott began his conversation with King, asking how this came about. V.K.: I was installing a work for a client in Mandurah, south of Perth in Western Australia when I received an email inviting me to exhibit in Venice. I thought it was a scam, a joke, so I…

6 min.
blooming late

Laura Williams explores decorative splendour, kitsch, and ribald or enigmatic content with a feminist and maximalist approach. From its inception her painting was figurative, colourful and naive in style. However, it often employs content and commentary antithetical to the commonly childlike visions of the naive artist. Now in her 50s, Williams is sometimes associated, rather uncomfortably, with young, emerging fine art graduates. Untutored, Williams began to paint with focus in 2011, after years of caring for her father. Domestic and cultural detritus were her initial subjects: books, plants, pictures, vases, ceramics and curios, pet budgies, fabrics and flowers. Her themes have since widened to fanciful, highly patterned interior spaces, and lively pastoral scenes with animals and nude figures―mainly male. This year she exhibited at Auckland’s Föenander Galleries (formerly nkb gallery)…