This article first appeared as 'Painting offers a multiverse of symbols' in The Press on 21 June 2017.
Len Lye: Stopped Short by Wonder
An exhibition inspired by a flash of light and a thunderclap.
My favourite artwork is Michael Parekowhai’s Chapman’s Homer – no question. It symbolises the strength of the bull and the strength of Christchurch post-earthquake. I’ve been involved with the Foundation since early 2015 and love what the Foundation is achieving post-earthquake. I enjoy being involved with an organisation that is attracting people back into the city.
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.
Our Instinct Enhanced
What does Bridget Riley’s art mean? We might imagine that a wall painting titled Cosmos (2016–17) referred to life within a cosmos, an order than encompasses us, whether natural or divine. The designation connotes a degree of philosophical speculation, unlike the direct descriptions that Riley occasionally employs as titles, such as Composition with Circles. But whatever meaning we derive from viewing Cosmos will be no more intrinsic to it than its name. Attribution of meaning comes after the fact and requires our participation in a social discourse. Every object or event to which a culture attends acquires meaning; and Riley’s art will have the meanings we give it, which may change as our projection of history changes. Meaning, in this social and cultural sense, is hardly her concern.
Rhona Haszard painted this vibrant work in 1927 – a result of her 1926 visit to Presqu'île de Crozon (Crozon Peninsula) in Finistère, Brittany, with her second husband Leslie Greener. Their fellow expatriate New Zealand painter Sydney Thompson was in nearby Concarneau, and they evidently met him at this time. Still an energised, recent arrival in Europe, Haszard was then reaching the pinnacle of her artistic achievement and recognition. In 1927 she had a painting accepted for the Paris Salon, another for the Wembley British Empire Exhibition (winning a bronze medal) and a third in the Society of Women Artists Exhibition in London. The couple’s tight financial situation, however, led to them leaving Brittany later that year for Egypt, where Greener took up an art and French teaching role at a British boys’ school in Alexandria. A back injury sustained by Haszard in 1928 led to the couple’s separation during her prolonged treatment in London, a critically blighted relationship, and conceivably her tragic and untimely death in Alexandria in 1931.
(The Weight of Sunlight, 16 September 2017 - 16 September 2018)