B.

A major boon to the Gallery in the direct aftermath of the earthquake

Behind the scenes

English artist Sarah Lucas was installing her show in Two Rooms, Auckland, when the 22 February earthquake struck.

Sarah Lucas NUD CYCLADIC 1 2009. Tights, fluff, wire, concrete blocks, MDF. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, purchase enabled by a gift from Andrew and Jenny Smith, made in response to the generosity of Sarah Lucas, Sadie Coles, London and Two Rooms, Auckland to the people of Christchurch on the occasion of the Canterbury Earthquake, February 2011

Sarah Lucas NUD CYCLADIC 1 2009. Tights, fluff, wire, concrete blocks, MDF. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, purchase enabled by a gift from Andrew and Jenny Smith, made in response to the generosity of Sarah Lucas, Sadie Coles, London and Two Rooms, Auckland to the people of Christchurch on the occasion of the Canterbury Earthquake, February 2011

She was quite upset by what she saw and insisted that the proceeds of whatever was sold should go to Christchurch and supporting the arts in the recovery. She persuaded both gallerists, Two Rooms and Sadie Coles HQ in London, to follow suit with their commission. And then collectors Andrew and Jenny Smith from Auckland responded with equal generosity. I had taken Andrew around our collection exhibition some time in 2010 and he recognised that it lacks some of the depth of Auckland's, particularly in our international holdings. So he and Jenny were interested in doing something to help us at some point. They offered to pay the full value of one of Lucas's works, if Christchurch Art Gallery would be interested in taking it. Well absolutely we would.

NUD CYCLADIC 1 is an intriguing work. I had seen it twice, once before the Smiths decided to match the artist's generosity, and later when selecting the work from the show. It's most obviously a backside, but I was also reminded of the arm of Rodin's The Thinker when I walked around it.

It was a wonderful sequence of events. The generosity of an international artist, two dealers and two collectors combined to enable the addition of a superb new work to our collection. And we're all richer for it.

Related

Collection
NUD CYCLADIC 1
Sarah Lucas NUD CYCLADIC 1
Classical sensuality or in-your-face eroticism? As with many works by renowned British artist Sarah Lucas, NUD CYCLADIC 1 has it both ways. Combining humour and provocative imagery to challenge expectations about gender and sexuality, Lucas also references the stylised and strangely modern female figurines of Cycladic culture, which flourished during the Early Bronze Age on the islands of the central Aegean. NUD CYCLADIC 1 entered the collection via multiple, compounded acts of generosity. On 22 February 2011, Lucas was in Auckland, installing an end-of-residency exhibition. On hearing of the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, she insisted that her share of the proceeds from exhibition sales go towards supporting the recovery of the arts in the city. Her Auckland and London gallerists agreed to donate their commissions to the same cause. Soon afterwards, in a third gesture of solidarity, Auckland collectors Andrew and Jenny Smith offered to purchase one of Lucas’s works for Christchurch Art Gallery – and we couldn't go past this one, with its cheeky nod to the sinuous sculptures of Auguste Rodin (1840–1917). (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Commentary
The Lines That Are Left

The Lines That Are Left

Of landscape itself as artefact and artifice; as the ground for the inscribing hand of culture and technology; as no clean slate.

— Joanna Paul

The residential Red Zone is mostly green. After each house is demolished, contractors sweep up what is left, cover the section with a layer of soil and plant grass seed. Almost overnight, driveway, yard, porch, garage, shed and house become a little paddock; the border of plants and trees outlining it the only remaining sign that there was once a house there.

Article
Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in Plain Sight

In 1997, I went to see an exhibition called White Out, curated by William McAloon for Auckland Art Gallery’s contemporary space. The show’s subtitle unambiguously promised ‘Recent Works by Seven Artists’, but as I completed my circuit I realised I’d come up one maker short. 

Notes
Five years on

Five years on

Today is the fifth anniversary of the February earthquake of 2011 which devastated Christchurch. During that time, we and our city have been through so many different phases.

 

Exhibition
Unseen: The Changing Collection

Unseen: The Changing Collection

A selection of exciting recent additions to Christchurch's public art collection.  

Notes
The regeneration must not be bureaucratised

The regeneration must not be bureaucratised

Aaron Kreisler is Head of the School of Fine Art at the University of Canterbury. He talked to Bulletin about challenges and opportunities for the arts in our city and what art can contribute to the future of Christchurch.

Article
Sparks that fly upwards

Sparks that fly upwards

Curator Felicity Milburn remembers five years and 101 installations in a gallery without walls.

 

Interview
The last five years

The last five years

An oral history of the Gallery building, 2010-2015.

 

Director's Foreword
Everything is going to be alright

Everything is going to be alright

The cover of Bulletin 181 in September 2015 featured a miscellany of crates in storage, several marked fragile, one weighing 156kg, some with arrows indicating which way up they should be, others instructing the reopener to lay it flat first. Some bear an image of what’s inside. Ralph Hotere’s Malady Panels and Julia Morison’s Tootoo are there, one with a label, the other with an image of the installed piece. As I write this our collections remain in storage. A few new works and some which have been on loan are awaiting return from storage within other institutions.

My Favourite
Peter Stichbury's NDE

Peter Stichbury's NDE

Anna Worthington chooses her favourite work from the Gallery collection.

Article
Regional revitalization with art

Regional revitalization with art

Rei Maeda, coordinator of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, writes on art’s contribution to the regeneration of a remote rural area of Japan.

 

Notes
What sort of city do we want our children's children to live in?

What sort of city do we want our children's children to live in?

Martin Trusttum, project manager for Ōtākaro Art by the River, and founder of temporary gallery space ArtBox, writes on the role of art in Christchurch.

Exhibition
Above Ground

Above Ground

An exhibition exploring the impact of architecture, imagination and memory.

Collection
Untitled
Leigh Martin Untitled
The paint in Leigh Martin’s latest works is applied not with a brush or palette knife, but via the slow and mysterious shifts of gravity. Poured onto a prepared board, which is rocked to disperse colour across the surface, the paint’s viscosity becomes as significant as its colour. As this process is repeated, the resulting residues offer a sense of depth, while a final layer of ‘interference paint’ allows the surface to oscillate as we move around it. It is, as Martin has said, “[t]here, and simultaneously not there. Mute. Silenced.” (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Notes
Kauri tree landscape by Colin McCahon

Kauri tree landscape by Colin McCahon

This article first appeared as 'Mighty kauris inspired McCahon' in The Press on 10 February 2015.

Collection
Dead Head
Tjalling de Vries Dead Head
Intrigued by the deceptions inherent in the act of painting, Tjalling de Vries often exposes tricks of the trade that usually pass unnoticed, while incorporating falsehoods of his own – like painted-on masking tape, counterfeit spills or creases and intricately layered surfaces designed to confuse and misdirect the eye. In Dead Head, transparent polyethylene takes the place of a canvas support, destabilising the picture plane as a site of illusion and suspended disbelief and allowing a view ‘through’ the painting to the wooden stretcher behind. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
Cerulean Slipping
Marie Le Lievre Cerulean Slipping
Marie Le Lievre’s paintings persuade and frustrate the eye, gracefully sidestepping our inclination to fasten them down with meanings. In this work, recently acquired for the collection, the intense, heavenly blue of the title gives way to a more turbulent and uncertain – though no less beautiful – surface. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Notes
NUD CYCLADIC I by Sarah Lucas

NUD CYCLADIC I by Sarah Lucas

This article first appeared as 'A visible means of support' in The Press on 26 September 2014.

Collection
Bucket, Croagnes
Bill Culbert Bucket, Croagnes
Since the early 1970s, Bill Culbert has explored the creative possibilities of light, capturing it in wine glasses, windows, lightbulbs, fluorescent tubes and even – as here – a simple plastic bucket. Set down on grass and fallen leaves in a wooded area close to Culbert’s home in France, this unassuming prop takes on a glowing, transcendent beauty as the sunlight fills and illuminates it. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Notes

Repair Update - Base Isolation to begin

A technology that allows a building to effectively 'float' on its foundations during an earthquake is about to be applied to the Gallery.

Notes
How Did You Do That?

How Did You Do That?

How often have you stood in front of an art work and wondered how the artist did that?

 

Notes
Lift of a gift

Lift of a gift

Staff here at the Gallery have enjoyed finally getting the opportunity to see Dust, Smoke and Rainbows (2013), a major new painting gifted by Shane Cotton, which was brought out of storage to be photographed recently.

Collection
Kauri tree landscape
Colin McCahon Kauri tree landscape
In 1958 poet and arts patron Charles Brasch, a great supporter of McCahon, said of the Titirangi works: 'These Auckland paintings seem an entirely new departure. The colour and light of Auckland are different from those of the rest of New Zealand; they are more atmospheric, they seem to have an independent, airy existence of their own, and they break up the uniform mass of solid bodies, hills or forests or water, into a kind of brilliant prismatic dance. Some of the paintings are explorations, evocations, of the kauri forest of the Waitakeres. In some you seem to be inside the forest, discovering the structure of individual trees, with their great shaft trunks, their balloon-like cones, and the shafts of light that play among them. In others you look at the forest from outside, as it rises like a wall before you, built up of cylinders and cubes of lighter and darker colour, with its wild jagged outlines against the sky.' (From the Sun Deck: McCahon’s Titirangi, 17 September 2016 – 6 February 2017)
Article
Transformers

Transformers

Curator Ken Hall writes about his experience of working with artists Chris Heaphy and Sara Hughes, as part of a small team with other city council staff and Ngāi Tahu arts advisors, on the Transitional Cathedral Square artist project.

Article
Quiet invasion

Quiet invasion

The idea of peppering the vestigial city centre with portraits from the collection became part of the Gallery's tenth birthday POPULATE! programme, intended to remind all of us that the collection is, indeed, still here and in good shape.

Notes
Earthquake Momento

Earthquake Momento

The latest issue of Photoforum's MoMento journal (issue 14, January 2014) focuses on the work of three photographers with strong ties to Christchurch and their haunting images of this battered city post February 22, 2011.

 

Notes
Eye Candy

Eye Candy

We've got tasty art all wrapped up down at ArtBox.

Collection
Monument #15
Callum Morton Monument #15
Australian artist Callum Morton is renowned for works that recast structures and building materials as repositories for human dreams and memories. Here, modern architecture’s humblest unit – the cinder-block – receives a rainbow paint-job that confuses and complicates its purpose. Are these the building blocks of a brighter future or the wistful relics of a destroyed utopia? (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
Red Form
Glen Hayward Red Form
Works of art aren’t as well behaved as they used to be. Once upon a time, they stayed where they were put, hanging obediently off picture rails or perching politely on pedestals. Since the arrival of the Duchampian readymade, however, many require a second glance to distinguish them from the world around them, as everyday objects are pressed into service in new, perspective-tilting contexts. There’s another kind of work too, the type Glen Hayward is known for: the readymade’s stealthier cousin. Meticulously, even obsessively, crafted to resemble objects you wouldn’t give another glance, these unobtrusive double agents aim to blend in, adding a subversive frisson to the gallery experience. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
Dust, Smoke and Rainbows
Shane Cotton Dust, Smoke and Rainbows
Partway through the development of The Hanging Sky, Christchurch Art Gallery’s touring survey of Shane Cotton’s work, Cotton told curator Justin Paton that he wanted to donate a new work, Dust, Smoke and Rainbows, to the Gallery in honour of the way Christchurch had faced the challenges presented by the earthquakes and in recognition of the Gallery’s continued commitment to his exhibition, despite circumstances that could easily have derailed it. Here, Cotton transports a Māori modernist sculpture forward in time and space, allowing it to re-materialise in a context that crackles with supernatural energy. Part-ruin, part-redemptive vision, this halfway space is alive with omens; charged with the echoes of the recent and distant past and full of anticipation at events to come. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Article
Street urchins, blue moons and rare visions

Street urchins, blue moons and rare visions

Even in a city where surreal scenes have become somewhat routine, the sight of the Isaac Theatre Royal's eight-tonne dome, suspended like a great alien craft, had the power to turn heads and drop jaws. Preserved inside a strange white shroud while the theatre was slowly deconstructed around it was a jewel of Christchurch's decorative arts heritage – a 105 year-old Italianate plaster ceiling featuring a circular painted reverie on the theme of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The dome, along with the rest of the theatre, is currently being restored as part of an ambitious rebuild that is expected to be completed in 2015 at a cost of over $30 million.

Artist interview
The fault is ours: Joseph Becker on Lebbeus Woods

The fault is ours: Joseph Becker on Lebbeus Woods

There was a packed auditorium at CPIT in Christchurch this August when visiting San Francisco Museum of Modern Art curator Joseph Becker delivered a lecture on architect Lebbeus Woods. And it wasn't hard to guess why. In addition to many other achievements, Woods is renowned for his highly speculative project, Inhabiting the Quake. Senior curator Justin Paton spoke to Becker about Lebbeus Woods, and what Christchurch might learn from him.

Collection
Typo
Glen Hayward Typo
Works of art aren’t as well behaved as they used to be. Once upon a time, they stayed where they were put, hanging obediently off picture rails or perching politely on pedestals. Since the arrival of the Duchampian readymade, however, many require a second glance to distinguish them from the world around them, as everyday objects are pressed into service in new, perspective-tilting contexts. There’s another kind of work too, the type Glen Hayward is known for: the readymade’s stealthier cousin. Meticulously, even obsessively, crafted to resemble objects you wouldn’t give another glance, these unobtrusive double agents aim to blend in, adding a subversive frisson to the gallery experience. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
NDE
Peter Stichbury NDE
NDE made its public debut high on Christchurch Art Gallery’s external south wall, when the immaculate surface of this canvas was minutely photographed then blown up onto tautly stretched vinyl as a glowing, seven-metre-wide billboard. Now, the fretful gaze that discomfited passers-by on the street outside cuts across the exhibition space instead. Have we, as the acronym in the title might suggest, stumbled upon a person on the cusp of the hereafter? Whatever this too-perfect young woman may have witnessed, it has, at least temporarily, removed her from our sphere into another. We’re uncomfortably close, yet worlds apart. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
Closed circuit
Glen Hayward Closed circuit
Works of art aren’t as well behaved as they used to be. Once upon a time, they stayed where they were put, hanging obediently off picture rails or perching politely on pedestals. Since the arrival of the Duchampian readymade, however, many require a second glance to distinguish them from the world around them, as everyday objects are pressed into service in new, perspective-tilting contexts. There’s another kind of work too, the type Glen Hayward is known for: the readymade’s stealthier cousin. Meticulously, even obsessively, crafted to resemble objects you wouldn’t give another glance, these unobtrusive double agents aim to blend in, adding a subversive frisson to the gallery experience. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Article
Drawing from Life

Drawing from Life

In the beginning art was drawing.

Collection
Untitled
Brenda Nightingale Untitled
In 2012, a suite of Christchurch artist Brenda Nightingale’s delicate, brooding ‘Christchurch Hills’ watercolours were reproduced in a limited edition publication, which was given away for free as part of Christchurch Art Gallery’s post-quake Outer Spaces programme. Focusing on the Port Hills that dominate the city’s southern skyline, Nightingale’s paintings subvert the picturesque conventions of the watercolour tradition; privileging, instead of idealised vistas, the often-ordinary objects that complicate our readings of them – lamp-posts, rubbish bins and walking track signs. Here, the trigonometric station at Godley Head offers an unexpected interruption to the view out across the Banks Peninsula headlands. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Notes
1888 earthquake

1888 earthquake

Earthquake images from 125 years ago

Collection
The Saviour
Wayne Youle The Saviour
In the weeks and months that followed the devastating earthquake on 22 February 2011, many Christchurch people looked in vain for a ‘hero on a white horse’ to lead the city out of crisis. Galloping creakily to nowhere, Wayne Youle’s riderless Saviour punctures the notion of a knight in shining armour. Instead, it emphasises his belief that this city’s salvation lies in the hands of ordinary people: all those who stayed – through choice or necessity – and contributed to the recovery in countless, unsung ways. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Notes

Repairs start on Christchurch Art Gallery

Repair work has started on Christchurch Art Gallery, with the re-levelling tender that will relieve stress in the building's foundations having been awarded.

Notes
There is only one direction by Colin McCahon

There is only one direction by Colin McCahon

This article appeared as 'Divine Innovation' in the The Press on 31 August 2012.

Notes
The Army leaves

The Army leaves

With the removal of the final cordon around the red zone in the central city last weekend, I came in with my family to have a look around the newly reopened areas of the CBD. We stopped to watch the parade of soldiers who were being thanked by the Prime Minister, the Mayor of Christchurch and Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for their work in controlling the central city red zone and with community welfare in the immediate aftermath of the February earthquake.

Collection
Walt's Wet Dream
Jason Greig Walt's Wet Dream
A local master of the monoprint, Jason Greig specialises in enthralling images created in luminous, unearthly tones. Combining a sly nod to Disney with something considerably less docile, Walt’s Wet Dream was first exhibited in a show called Jasonic Boom in Sydney, where it was accompanied by a statement from Greig that included the following words: My art is about love; lost and found. It’s about dark lonely places; imagined and real. And it’s about the constant naggin’ thought that the end is always nearer. I have dealt with my demons, in life and on pieces of pummelled paper. The road I have travelled has been paved with gold that shines, and with bile that fumes. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
Latimer Square, Christchurch, 2012, from Adaptation, 2011 - 2012
Tim J. Veling Latimer Square, Christchurch, 2012, from Adaptation, 2011 - 2012
Tim J. Veling's photographs of post-quake Christchurch are studies in memory and transformation. From a body of work titled Adaptation, this nocturnal image reveals the strangeness of the transitional city, not least its moments of surprising, eerie beauty. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
River Pool, Somerset
Frances Hodgkins River Pool, Somerset
This work belongs to a small group of related compositions from the same viewpoint, thought to have been painted by Frances Hodgkins while she stayed at The Croft, a cottage in Somerset owned by the writer Geoffrey Gorer. Completed in Hodgkins’ distinctive style, in which form and colour are blended to create an intense and lyrical impression of place, it rewards sustained viewing with a gradual unfolding of content – trees, reflective water, a model boat. Considered one of New Zealand’s greatest painters, Hodgkins pursued her practice with originality and tenacity, noting: “[I]t is so easy to paint like your master & to think other people’s thoughts, the difficulty is to be yourself, assimilate all that is helpful but keep your own individuality, as your most precious possession – it is one’s only chance.” (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
Red house
Stephen Bambury Red house
Stephen Bambury has said of the titles he gives his works: “I like to put down a scent that can be followed.” In this case, that trail leads us towards the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935), who in 1932 painted a work he named Red House. Malevich’s suprematism – geometric forms painted in a limited palette to represent the supremacy of ‘pure feeling’ – sought to reset the ‘givens’ of painting and perception, recognising how the relationship between two-dimensional objects on a pictorial plane could suggest movement, volume and symbolic meaning. On longer looking, the initial flatness of Bambury’s simplified house motif – which recurs frequently throughout his practice – gives way to a sense of perspectival depth, opening the image up to considerations of shelter and containment. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Article
Christchurch Art Gallery is ten: highs and lows

Christchurch Art Gallery is ten: highs and lows

In recognition of the anniversary of the move of Christchurch's public art gallery from its former existence as the Robert McDougall in the Botanic Gardens to its new more central city location (now eerily empty), I've been asked by Bulletin's editor to recall some highs and lows of the last ten years. So here goes — and stay with me during this reflection, which takes the place of my usual foreword.

Artist interview
Gregor Kregar: Reflective Lullaby

Gregor Kregar: Reflective Lullaby

Justin Paton: As everyone who has seen your works at Christchurch Airport will know, you often make big sculptures with a geometric quality. Gnomes, however large, aren't the first things viewers might expect you to be interested in. What's the appeal of these figures for you?
Gregor Kregar: I'm interested reinterpreting mundane objects, shapes, situations or materials. In my large geometric works I do this by creating complex structures out of basic shapes—triangles, squares, pentagons and hexagons. And with the gnomes I am interested in how something that is usually made out of plastic or concrete and is associated with a low, kitsch aesthetic can be transformed into an arresting monumental sculpture.

Interview
It’s our party and we’ll cry if we want to

It’s our party and we’ll cry if we want to

On 10 May 2013, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu turns ten. Which is fantastic. But it's probably fair to say that there's a bittersweet quality to the celebrations around this particular anniversary, as it also marks two years and eleven weeks of closure for the Gallery, and catches us staring down the barrel of another two years without our home.

It's frustrating. And then some.

However, we're not going to let these little, ahem, inconveniences get in the way of our party. Populate! is our birthday programme, and it's our attempt to bring some unexpected faces and figures back to the depleted central city. Bulletin spoke to the Gallery's senior curator Justin Paton about what he really wants for the tenth birthday, what he finds funny, and what he really doesn't.

Notes
Populate! update #8 (face up)

Populate! update #8 (face up)

The waning sun and lowering weather have one nice side-effect, which is to create the perfect conditions for viewing Peter Stichbury's backlit billboard NDE, newly installed on Worcester Boulevard.

Notes
Max's gift

Max's gift

In early 2010 Max Gimblett announced his intention to give the Gallery a substantial gift of works on paper. The only complication was that someone had to go and select them...

Notes
Subtly engaging security

Subtly engaging security

We've all heard the stories about confusions occurring on the edge where art meets life. The London cleaning lady, for instance, who threw out hundreds of cigarette butts that turned out to be a Damien Hirst. Naturally, no self-respecting gallery professional wants to see their favourite artworks confused with mere stuff.

Notes
What they did with Christchurch cathedral

What they did with Christchurch cathedral

Lunchtime on a shining summer's day and you head for the ruin of Christchurch Cathedral. If you get there by twelve you can usually nab one of the bench seats along the back wall, where sun buckets down through the long-gone roof and warms the stonework behind you.

Collection
Sydney Harbour
Don Peebles Sydney Harbour
In 1951, Don Peebles took leave from his Wellington Post Office job and headed to Sydney to undertake full-time study at the Julian Ashton School of Art under the painter John Passmore, returning to New Zealand in 1953. This shift provided an opportunity for the young painter to connect with early European Modernism – and particularly the work of Paul Cézanne. Later, Peebles described his realisation of the importance of structure: It wasn’t simply a matter of copying the thing in front of you. We had a multitudinous array of information in front of us as we looked at nature, or looked at a model – we had to select, to build our own structures through colour, form and scale. […] My job is to recognise the information that bombards us – my job is to find those things, and find the inner harmony within them. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
rainwob ii
Francis Upritchard rainwob ii
The work on the three tables at the centre of this room is part of a series of sculptures artist Francis Upritchard has described as “an attempt at an unsuccessful utopia”. Like the flipped-back word in its title, it seems to set off in one direction – towards a kind of visionary, psychedelic paradise – but overturns our expectations to arrive somewhere much less certain. Locked away in intensely private reveries, the delicate, marionette-like figures that inhabit it are curiously enigmatic: part-primeval bog people, part-countercultural prophets, they live out their radiant existences somewhere between the ancient unknowable past and the distant unknowable future. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
Crouches with moths
Peter Madden Crouches with moths
In classical times, a gold coin was inserted into a dead person's mouth as a ‘Charon’s obol’, a ritualistic payment for the ferry ride across the river Acheron to the underworld. With its blackened skeleton, crawling flies and shroud-like canopy of moths (cut free from the pages of National Geographic magazines), this work evokes an atmosphere of death and decay – but a closer look also reveals small signs of regeneration. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
Springing Fern
Eileen Mayo Springing Fern
English-born Eileen Mayo excelled across a remarkable range of media, including drawing, linocuts, wood engraving, lithography, tapestry and silk screening. She also became a sought-after commercial designer, known for exquisitely detailed and balanced images that appeared on stamps and coins in Australia and New Zealand. Mayo had lived in New Zealand for twenty years when she made this screenprint of young fern fronds in the lush native bush. One of her last prints, it combines an enduring appreciation of the natural world with extraordinary technical ability, conveying not only the beauty of the plants she depicts, but a sense of their place within a complex and interconnected ecosystem. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
Shrink wrap
Glen Hayward Shrink wrap
Works of art aren’t as well behaved as they used to be. Once upon a time, they stayed where they were put, hanging obediently off picture rails or perching politely on pedestals. Since the arrival of the Duchampian readymade, however, many require a second glance to distinguish them from the world around them, as everyday objects are pressed into service in new, perspective-tilting contexts. There’s another kind of work too, the type Glen Hayward is known for: the readymade’s stealthier cousin. Meticulously, even obsessively, crafted to resemble objects you wouldn’t give another glance, these unobtrusive double agents aim to blend in, adding a subversive frisson to the gallery experience. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Collection
Depot
Philip Trusttum Depot
In 2009, renowned Christchurch painter Philip Trusttum surprised us with an exceptionally generous offer: a gift of twenty paintings, selected by the Gallery and with no limitation on scale or value. The first ten works entered the collection the following year, and rumbling in amongst them was Depot, this colossal gas-guzzler of a painting that hums with Trusttum’s trademark physical energy. The audacious scale belies the work’s diminutive origins; the artist found his inspiration in the toy trucks his young grandson William played with in his studio.
Collection
Untitled [Quentin (Kin) Woollaston Shearing]
Sir Toss Woollaston Untitled [Quentin (Kin) Woollaston Shearing]
Mountford Tosswill (Toss) Woollaston was the eldest of five sons of share-milking dairy farmers in Taranaki. His working life started divided between rural manual labour – mainly seasonal fruit and tobacco picking – and artistic pursuits, initially poetry before he found his vocation as a painter. Early study included two terms each at the Canterbury College School of Art in 1931 and the Dunedin School of Art in 1932. Woollaston held his first solo exhibition in Dunedin in 1936; his commitment to modernism at this time marked him out as singular. By the early 1960s, when he made this vigorous drawing of his youngest brother shearing, the by-then Greymouth- based artist was gaining increased recognition. In 1966 he began to work on his art full-time. (Beneath the ranges, 18 February – 23 October 2017)
Notes
Earthquake generosity

Earthquake generosity

We recently received this generous gift - from one quakeprone country to another

Artist interview
A Dark and Empty Interior

A Dark and Empty Interior

In B.167 senior curator Justin Paton documented his walk around the perimeter of Christchurch's red zone, and we featured the empty Rolleston plinth outside Canterbury Museum at the end of Worcester Boulevard. In this edition, director Jenny Harper interviews English sculptor Antony Gormley, who successfully animated another vacant central-city plinth—the so-called Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London. Gormley filled the plinth with 2,400 people, who occupied it for one hour each, night and day, for 100 days. Here, Jenny asks him about his practice, the value of the figurative tradition and whether he has any advice for Christchurch.

Article
Laying out Foundations

Laying out Foundations

Looking broadly at the topic of local architectural heritage, Reconstruction: conversations on a city had been scheduled to open at the Gallery but will now instead show on outdoor exhibition panels along Worcester Boulevard from 23 June. Supplementing works from the collection with digital images from other collections, curator Ken Hall brings together an arresting art historical tour of the city and its environs.

Article
Cities of Remembrance

Cities of Remembrance

Nothing was more fascinating than ruins to me when I was growing up in one of the newest parts of the New World—new, anyway, to extensive buildings and their various forms of lingering collapse and remnant. The native people of California had mostly built ephemeral structures that were readily and regularly replaced and left few traces. Anything old, anything that promised to reach into the past, was magical for me; ruins doubly so for the usual aura of romance and loss that, like death, is most alluring to the young who have not seen much of it yet.

Collection
Christ in Majesty - after Fra Angelico
Max Gimblett Christ in Majesty - after Fra Angelico
At its simplest, a quatrefoil is constructed from four perfect, intersecting circles. Found in both Eastern and Western religious art, it has also been used to order and understand the physical world, most familiarly through the quartered segments of the clock and compass. Once described as a secular artist with a great respect for religious traditions, Max Gimblett has frequently opted for this shape over the more usual – but no less arbitrary – rectangular canvas. Here he combines it with gleaming gold leaf that has been finely scored to create a painting that seems to rush out towards us while simultaneously drawing us into its centre. Though his work is abstract, Gimblett’s title summons up the view of an enthroned Christ as depicted by the early Renaissance painter and friar Fra Angelico; surrounded by a shimmering aureole of golden light, radiating knowledge, power and glory. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Notes
New Gallery programmes consider a city in transition

New Gallery programmes consider a city in transition

The possibilities for a city in transition will be considered in Re:actions for the city – a new series of public events that we are launching.

 

Notes
The Boulevard of Broken Art

The Boulevard of Broken Art

Well before the earthquakes, Christchurch had a reputation as a tough town for public art. The city's public spaces are haunted by the ghosts of several major sculptures that never made it to completion. And several local sculptors still carry some psychological scar tissue from their forays into the public realm.

Collection
Grandparents at Okains
Jeffrey Harris Grandparents at Okains
This icon-like work is one of twenty-four extraordinary, jewel-like paintings Jeffrey Harris made between 1974 and 1977, in which he channeled the luminous colours and spatial clarity of the fifteenth-century Italian artist known as Il Sasetta to recast his own life, and that of his family, as a kind of monumental narrative cycle. On a strangely weathered surface, the artist’s grandparents project what art critic Peter Ireland called “an oppressive solitude”. With their grimly pursed mouths and aged hands gnarled like monstrous tree roots, there’s as much holding them apart as bringing them, momentarily, together. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)
Notes
Hiding in plain sight

Hiding in plain sight

We've all heard the stories about confusions occurring on the edge where art meets life.

Article
Here and Gone

Here and Gone

In the last issue of Bulletin, senior curator Justin Paton wrote about the way the Christchurch earthquakes 'gazumped' the exhibitions on display at the Gallery – overshadowing them and shifting their meanings. In this issue, with the Gallery still closed to the public, he considers the place of art in the wider post-quake city – and discovers a monument in an unlikely place.

Notes
Doc Ross: photographing the red zone

Doc Ross: photographing the red zone

Sydenham-based photographer Doc Ross and his camera have been investigating the Christchurch urban environment for the past 14 years.

Exhibition
Reconstruction: Conversations on a City

Reconstruction: Conversations on a City

In acknowledging architectural heritage loss in this city's present and past, this visually rich outdoor exhibition unfolds the ways in which dreams and values have been given form in our built environment.

Exhibition
De-Building

De-Building

Sculptural surprises and architectural double-takes by renowned contemporary artists. De-Building is inspired by a moment usually hidden from viewers – when an exhibition ends and the 'de-build' begins. View it online

Notes
Max's Gift

Max's Gift

Having the opportunity to spend over a week in New York recently to work closely with the artist Max Gimblett and his studio assistants in making a selection from Max's extensive collection of works on paper for a gift to Christchurch Art Gallery rates as one of the highlights of my job as a curator.

Notes
New York

New York

Curator Peter Vangioni and I have been in New York City since last Wednesday, selecting a gift of works on paper from New Zealand artist Max Gimblett, who has been resident in New York for some 35 years.

Article
Brought to Light

Brought to Light

Finally, it's finished! It is now four months since we closed the doors on the previous incarnation of Christchurch Art Gallery's collection exhibition, and the intervening period has been a very busy time for all our staff. When Christchurch Art Gallery opened in 2003, the plan, reiterated in the Paradigm Shift document of 2006, was to refresh the hang of the collection galleries after five years. Since then the display has of course not remained entirely static, and visitors will have noticed regular changes as new works entered the collection, light-sensitive works were changed and small focus exhibitions created. But Brought to Light: A New View of the Collection is something altogether more-a refreshment of our entire collection display (not just what, but why) and a re-evaluation of the physical space of the galleries themselves.

Collection
Wanton Eye
Barbara Tuck Wanton Eye
Shifting fluidly between abstraction and representation, Barbara Tuck’s intricate, interwoven paintings trace an imaginative path through real landscapes – the ancient mountains, rivers and valleys of New Zealand’s South Island. With multiple horizon-lines, oscillating viewpoints and lyrical juxtapositions, she reinvents this much-painted terrain, inviting us into a startling and enthralling dreamworld. (Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)