Ralph Hotere: Recent Paintings and Works on Paper

28 June – 29 July 1979

From June 28 to July 29, Ralph Hotere will be exhibiting recent paintings and works on paper, completed during his 1978 working visit to Europe.

The paintings fall into four distinct series: "Return to Sangro" referring to the Sangro River War Cemetery on the Adriatic coast of Italy where his brother is buried. It was after his first visit there in 1962-63, Ralph painted a series of nine powerful and compelling works expressing his measured anger at the futility of war and its wasteful destruction of lives.

Another series entitled "The Pope is Dead" were painted in reaction to the death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. The seductively severe stencilled lettering familiar in his earlier work takes on a new raucous almost painted feeling, derived from huge heavy newspaper headlines they stand forward and shock anew. Both "Windows in Spain" and "Avignon" allude to architecture, the play of light and the muted colours of cool narrow streets of glaring whitewashed walls.

These paintings represent a major breakthrough in Ralph's work with a definite emphasis on the painterliness, the mottled surfaces being as ever beautiful but even more so, and it is the Gallery's pleasure to exhibit them so recently after completion.

The exhibition will be accompanied by two films on Ralph Hotere working which will be screened at regular intervals.

Ralph Hotere lives in Dunedin and has exhibited widely in New Zealand and overseas. In 1978 he took the prize at the Christchurch Arts Festival International of Drawings with his drawing "KO WAI KOE, Who are you?"

Ralph Hotere offers good advice for looking at his paintings when he says, "I have provided for the spectator a starting point, which upon contemplation may become a nucleus revealing sources of new possibilities."

('Ralph Hotere', Bulletin, No.4, July/August 1979, p.5)

Exhibition number 216A

"I have provided for the spectator a starting point, which upon contemplation may become a nucleus revealing sources of new possibilities."

– Ralp Hotere