This article first appeared as 'Painting offers a multiverse of symbols' in The Press on 21 June 2017.
Charles Meryon: Etcher of Banks Peninsula
French explorers, natural historians, whalers and Catholic missionaries were increasingly present in the south-west Pacific from the mid-eighteenth century, but there was also a political thread in this activity. During the 1820s some in France saw New Zealand as a potential penal colony, and the project that saw a handful of French colonists settle on Banks Peninsula in 1840 made an official French presence in the region even more appropriate. This took the form of a French naval base, the ‘New Zealand station’, established at Akaroa in 1840.
When I first came down to Christchurch the first thing I was really impressed with was the Gallery. It’s seen as strong point in the city. Even before the earthquakes, a lot of things revolved around the Gallery and they definitely do now. Cantabrians are proud to have a strong art gallery.
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.
Ann Shelton: Dark Matter
An expansive view of Ann Shelton’s tightly conceived, large scale and hyperreal photography
This luminous pastoral scene was painted at Silverstream; in the Hutt Valley within easy reach from Wellington. It was here that Nairn and other artists rented Pumpkin Cottage, which can be seen in the background. The artists enjoyed travelling from Wellington to paint the countryside outdoors, or plein-air, and develop their interests in impressionism. Nairn, who had trained and worked as a professional artist in Scotland, was very much the group’s leader and was instrumental in establishing the Wellington Art Club in 1892 as an alternative to the more conservative New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. (March 2018)