Collection Tarot

Behind the scenes

One of the things I've really missed in these post-earthquake days is contact with collection works in the storage areas.

As you'll know from previous posts, those areas have been undergoing refurbishment, and art works are gradually being returned there after having been temporarily stored in our exhibition areas. It won't be for some time yet, but I'm looking forward to the day when we can wander freely through these spaces again, and not just for purely professional reasons. The stores always amaze me for their uncanny ability to throw up the perfect work at any moment - not necessarily the one you were looking for, but one that takes your ideas in a different direction, lifts your spirits or just gives you a much-needed art infusion. Without physical access, we've been making do with virtual, via our Collection Online (though 'making do' sounds a bit stingy in the face of the slick and multi-layered searching this feature provides). It's not possible to get face-to-face with the art of course, but in terms of serendipity, the random selection of works thrown up when you first begin your online search gives almost as good as its real-life counterpart.  So, in the heart of winter, surrounded by leafless trees, saturated lawns and dormant flowerbeds, here's what I got this morning - a garden view of radiant vibrance from Pat Hanly.

In a 1969 Art New Zealand interview with Hamish Keith, Hanly described how his work from this time was fuelled by a revelation about the potential inherent in even the simplest of subjects: '[E]verything had its own importance, its own incredible and meaningful reality, so anything you turned to, that whetted your visual appetite, you could develop. There was no image at the end. It was a continuing process, an expanding one, always opening out.'