This article first appeared as 'Painting offers a multiverse of symbols' in The Press on 21 June 2017.
See Italy and Die
‘A man who has not been to Italy is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.’
Samuel Johnson, 1776
As every traveller knows, there is something obsessive about setting out on a journey: the preparatory work of consulting guides, the organisation of itineraries, the accommodation pre-booked, bags packed with essentials, provisions for the journey assembled. This essay explores the metaphor of a journey, with the particular Italian twist that informs the work of the artists gathered together in the exhibition The Weight of Sunlight.
My love of art started at high school when visiting the Robert McDougall Art Gallery. I attended art classes there and tried unsuccessfully to discover any latent talent! I joined the Foundation board in 2008 and enjoy what it brings to the city. My all-time favourite artwork is Mountain Stream, Otira Gorge by van der Velden. It is bleak and powerful.
The Gallery has an incredible team of forty Volunteer Guides – and we want more! We’re currently seeking expressions of interest for ten enthusiastic individuals to join us.
In early March we were lucky enough to have the incredibly talented Grayson Gilmour performing at the Gallery, supported by the equally talented Purple Pilgrims and New Dawn. I love these gigs, but there is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes to make sure that, by the time the public walk in the door, the foyer is gig ready. The process normally feels like a long, slow marathon with a sprint at the final corner. So here’s a guide to how you too can get the NZI Foyer gig-ready in five (or six) easy steps.
Yellow Moon: He Marama Kōwhai
Yellow is a colour with impact – it’s time to encounter its brilliance.
By the early 1930s Rata Lovell-Smith was highly regarded for her paintings of the Canterbury landscape. One Christchurch reviewer in 1933 glowingly commented on her work:
'Of the painters who direct their attention towards the essential characteristics of New Zealand scenery […] Mrs Lovell-Smith makes an extremely direct statement of her subject. She paints with a large full brush in a series of broad planes. There is nothing 'bitty' about her work. This, perhaps, is its greatest virtue, a virtue that cannot be too highly praised. She glories in the colour contrasts of the New Zealand landscape. […] There are no subtleties but a series of vivid and simplified impressions of her native country. Whereas many pictures by [other] exhibitors […] might have been painted in other countries, there can never be any doubt about the locality of Mrs Lovell- Smith's landscapes. It is as though she had never got over her first impression of violent tone and colour contrasts, and in a state of beatific astonishment had set herself to establish that impression at the expense of anything that tended to modify it.'