Grant Lingard

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1961, d.1995

If the Shoe Fits

  • 1988
  • Ink stamps on paper, enamel on wood and mixed media
  • Gift of Teri Johnson, 2022
  • 196 x 600mm
  • 2022/020

These two works are from a series that considered the challenges of fitting within the narrowly defined (largely heterosexual) margins of accepted male behaviour. Always alert to the possibilities of language, Grant Lingard combined pre-made ink stamps with familiar phrases he described as “having suitable political connotations for the gay debate”.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor combines the singsong rollcall of suitable male careers with the image of a black rose. For Grant, roses symbolised growth, passion and beauty, but in black they also represented an outsider or underdog, the family’s ‘black sheep’. He customised each frame, choosing colours that represented different roses. If the Shoe Fits is an image of tightly-laced conformity. Grant said he wanted to show that “sexuality is only one small part of a person’s makeup, and gay men are equally as varied and individual as non-gay. I just want to plant a seed in people’s head hoping it will grow and perhaps affect the way they think and behave.”

(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )

Exhibition History