Art New Zealand

Art New Zealand No 152 Summer 2014-15

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



Auckland Sara Hughes Sing A Rainbow Gow Langsford Gallery 17 September-11 October EDWARD HANFLING I remember Double Rainbow more clearly than any of the other paintings because of its simple structure, pounding rhythm, the green and yellow and the orange and purple, the slicing and shimmering of concentric squares. Then I remember Afterglow with its fine linear mesh suddenly giving way to a ribbon of bright orange at the bottom. Double Happiness also stays with me-the title reflects the guileless goofiness of the overt rainbow composition. And I remember that because there are so many paintings in the exhibition, I cannot remember more than a few. Sara Hughes is remarkable for her ingenuity and productivity-for the way she moves her work along, coming up with new ideas and turning them into paintings as if it…

a cultural journey jonathan mane wheoki in conversation

Kua hunga he totara i te wao nui a Tane Moe mai e te rangatira Moe mai, takoto mai Professor Jonathan Mane Wheoki, CNZM (1943-2014) was a ‘mighty totara’ in the art world of Aotearoa New Zealand. A Renaissance man, his interests spanned British and colonial Victorian art and architecture, New Zealand Modernism (he was a youthful protégé and lifelong admirer of Colin McCahon), and Maori art from pre-contact times to highly-rated contemporary practitioners such as Lisa Reihana and Darryn George. In his 50-year career, he was both an academic, senior lecturer in art history at the University of Canterbury and later head of Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, and a museum professional, head of arts and visual culture at the Museum of New Zealand Te…

not actually at home

Speaking to The Observer in relation to her recent show at London’s Serpentine Gallery, the performance artist Marina Abramovic recalled a characteristic of art she predicted 25 years ago. ‘In 1989,’ she said, ‘I gave an interview in which I said that the art of the 21st century would be art where there is nothing between the artist and the visitor, that it would be an exchange of energy, and that is how it has turned out here. Looking at something isn’t experiencing it; this is experience. Our culture is based on guilt, on having to deliver; but here, we give people permission to do nothing-to close their eyes and just be with themselves. What we give people is themselves.’ In reflecting on this remark, there are several aspects that seem…

the magic of edwards + johann

Currently on show at the Christchurch Art Gallery, Rebels, Knights and Other Tomorrows is an exhibition by the collaborative duo Edwards + Johann which brings together two series of photographic works from 2013, alongside a new series of sculptures and a sound work. The exhibition occupies both galleries of the Tuam Street space. The first is dimly lit and has an air of theatre with bright, focused spotlights illuminating The Accidental Rebels, a sequence of seven colour photographic prints that occupy the far corner of the room. Equally dramatic lighting illuminates four of the Probe sculptures, which seem to drift around the centre of the space. And within this darkened environment, punctuated by the strange images and objects of Edwards + Johann, comes the intermittent and haunting sound of chimes.…

bush fantasy

When driving on the roads of New Zealand it is an appealing fantasy to imagine the land as it once was, unpeopled, forested, primeval. Every now and then, on depressingly short sections of the highway-two that are lodged in my mind are the road to Dawson Falls, and the route over the hill behind Tokaanu-this fantasy comes to life; roll down the windows and that dense, earth-laden, green-tinged air rushes in and tastes like the world before civilisation. This is a fantasy that the paintings of Mark Wooller indulge. Their subject is ostensibly the New Zealand bush, and it is simultaneously identifiable and imagined. Individual specimens of kauri, totara and ponga can be seen amongst a broad palette of green, which deftly replicates the combination of wilderness and patternation that distinguishes…

but how does it mean?

‘Aesthetic experience’ is historically considered to be a primarily visual experience. Conceptual art of the late 1960s and early 1970s switched the emphasis from aesthetics to ideas. It may seem perverse, then, to stress the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of the contemporary conceptual art of Gabrielle Amodeo, Dorota Broda and Yolunda Hickman. In truth, though, all art is conceptual-there is no purely optical, brainless experience-and all artists, in some sense, gather up stuff from the everyday world and turn it into ‘art’. But conceptual artists use specific and distinctive aesthetic strategies to perform this act-strategies that often go unnoticed and unrecognised as ‘aesthetic’ precisely because they are intended to appear anti-aesthetic, or because they undermine the traditional specialness of the aesthetic by finding beauty in the mundane. The interesting thing about…