James Powell and Sons: St Mary Magdalene and Mary Mother of James at the Empty Tomb
You may be wondering why I chose this piece of art as my favourite. Perhaps you think it’s for the craftsmanship of the stained glass. Or maybe I’ve lost someone, and the artwork brings me comfort. But you’d be wrong. This piece of art, which was rescued from the Barbadoes Street Cemetery Chapel, triggers a memory.
Leo Bensemann: Seascape with causeway
The four years I spent at Elam as an undergrad straight out of high school ruined art for me. I entered the building on Mount Street in love with painting and wanting to be a painter, and I left in love with nothing.
Charles Meryon: Nouvelle Zélande, Presqu’île de Banks, 1845...
1957 was a big year for me – transitions from a middle- sized hometown to life in a major city, and from high school to university, with an emphasis on courses in French language and literature. And late in that year a new display in the Canterbury Museum allowed my rudimentary interest in New Zealand history, my unstructured interest in the visual arts, and my commitment to things French, to come together around the work of an artist I had never heard of, but who had lived briefly at Akaroa in the 1840s – Charles Meryon.
Bill Culbert and Ralph Hotere: Pathway to the Sea – Aramoana
My time working at Te Puna o Waiwhetū was strewn with highlights, but key among these is the experience of hanging Ralph Hotere and Bill Culbert’s Pathway to the Sea – Aramoana (1991), which was also my first experience of seeing this work up close and personal. Although not the greatest work or most popular work of art in the collection, this lithograph will always be special to me. I love the sparse aesthetic, the sense of a light touch. The bold decision to not occupy the whole page as the collaborators examine restraint, notations of the relevance of place and connections.
Lisa Reihana – Sex Trade, Gift for Banks, Dancing Lovers, Sextant Lesson (18550) (19205)
Dear Sex Trade, Gift for Banks, Dancing Lovers, Sextant Lesson (18550) (19205),
I’m surprised to see you here, and I’m conflicted.
At once I love you then I hate you. Do you remember the first time I saw you in your entirety? It was bitterly cold, an unexpected Toronto snowstorm and I hid from the sleet in the warm Galleria Italia at the newly renovated Frank Gehry architecturally designed and renamed Art Gallery of Ontario. (10-year-old Juanita did not foresee this future for herself, she was hungry for food… Now she’s hungry for art and meaning, how wanky! Te Kore, Te Pō, Te Ao, born, live, die.)
Reuben Paterson - The End
I am a clown. I spent my whole life perfecting the art of idiocy, learning my trade outside the Gallery on the corner of Worcester Boulevard and Montreal Street – cutting my teeth as a street performer. Then one day, I was invited to step inside the Gallery, to write about art. Naturally, I felt nervous, but excited.
Rita Angus – Cass
A few years ago, I walked the old Ngāi Tahu trails through Kā Tiritiri-o-te-moana The Southern Alps. I was hunting for traces of our pre-European history in the mountains. I encountered a lot of Pākehā mountain history as well. In the upper Waimakariri Basin, on my way to Tarahaka Arthur’s Pass, I wandered into New Zealand’s greatest painting – as seen on TV.
Marti Friedlander – Margaret Mahy
Marti Friedlander is my favourite Aotearoa photographer. I don’t remember the first time I saw one of her photographs, but they always feel familiar and give me a sense of warm nostalgia. Her work captures a time in New Zealand I miss – primary school cheekiness, shopping on a Saturday morning, travelling to family farms in Timaru and North Canterbury. A simpler life.
Jason Greig's Vulcan Paradise
I’ve had a quiet fascination with Jason Greig’s work ever since I was a Year 13 student hanging about Burnside High’s art block (which, granted, wasn’t that long ago). My then printmaking teacher, Nichola Shanley, is a good friend of Jason’s and managed to get him along to one of our classes.
Cerith Wyn Evans's Things are conspicuous in their absence...
I have never seen an artwork reflect something so true. “Things are conspicuous in their absence” is such an uncommonly heard reflection that it is eye-catching. When things are around us, they seem normal and often go unnoticed; the moment they are gone it can be startling and we wake up.