As Stark and Grey as Stalin's Uniform

Heading along to the stunning Rita Angus: Life & Vision survey exhibition at the Gallery in 2009 I always had this nagging feeling that one work was missing from the walls – Angus’s Gasworks from 1933. This painting was one that I knew only through the black and white image that appeared first in a volume of Art in New Zealand in 1933; the same reproduction that was later used in Jill Trevelyan’s excellent biography of Angus and also in the catalogue for the National Art Gallery’s 1982 retrospective, Rita Angus. For the New Zealand art historian, Gasworks was a kind of legend – painted by one of the country’s best artists yet seen in person by only a very few. In 1975, when Gordon H. Brown curated New Zealand Painting 1920–1940: Adaption and Nationalism, Gasworks was listed as ‘location unknown’ in the accompanying catalogue. Amazingly the painting was also not included in the retrospective exhibition of 1982. We had grown to know this painting purely through a grainy black and white illustration from 1933. But the painting was never lost – Gasworks is a painting that has been cherished, protected and loved by the same Christchurch family since the early 1940s. And now, having been placed on loan to Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, it is available for the public to view for the first time since 1933, when it was shown at the Canterbury Society of Arts.

Continued
Notes
Award wins!

Award wins!

We’re delighted to announce that Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū has won a number of accolades at the 21st Museums Australasia Multimedia & Publication Design Awards. The prestigious annual awards celebrate excellence in the Australasian museum sector and were presented on Tuesday evening during a gala dinner in Melbourne.

Commentary
The World Tossed Continuously in a Riot of Colour, Form, Sound

The World Tossed Continuously in a Riot of Colour, Form, Sound

One hundred and twenty five years ago, after years of political struggle, Aotearoa New Zealand granted all adults the right to vote by extending suffrage to women. To mark this anniversary, for this issue of Bulletin our curators have written about some of the Gallery’s significant – yet lesser-known – nineteenth and mid-twentieth-century works by women. Our intention is to make these paintings, and the cultural contribution of the artists, more visible in 2018.

Notes
Familiar landscape for our new director

Familiar landscape for our new director

Blair Jackson has been appointed the new director of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.

Exhibition
We Do This

We Do This

A recharged contemporary hang to mark 125 years of women’s suffrage.

Supporter
Charlotte Gray

Charlotte Gray
Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation

I jumped at the opportunity to join the Foundation in October 2014 when I heard about the plan to purchase five great works. The Gallery has fantastic vision and is in great hands right now. One of my favourite artworks in Christchurch is Martin Creed’s Work No. 2314 which tells us everything is going to be alright. I like the simple message in dazzling lights. For me it symbolises the pretence I showed, for the sake of my kids, that the earthquakes were nothing to worry about. I have my parents to thank for surrounding me with good New Zealand art and making it part of the everyday conversation – the disagreements were part of the fun.

Artist interview
Driving  Without a Licence

Driving Without a Licence

Peter Robinson: I may be wrong about this, but I believe that we were the last generation to experience the primacy of painting at art school. What I mean by this is that when we were at Ilam, students had to compete to get into departments. As crazy as it sounds now, there was a very clear hierarchy: painting was the most popular discipline and afforded the most esteem, sculpture second, then film, print, design and photography somewhere down the line. Can you remember why you ended up choosing sculpture? And furthermore why you ended up being a painter? Do you think your training as a sculptor affected the way you think about or approach painting that is different to someone who was trained formally as a painter?

Notes
Underworld 2 by Tony de Lautour

Underworld 2 by Tony de Lautour

This article first appeared as 'Painting offers a multiverse of symbols' in The Press on 21 June 2017. 

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