1 August – 15 November 2020
A selection from the Max Gimblett and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett gift.
Max Gimblett is a New Zealand-born, New York-based artist and Zen master renowned for the dynamism of his work and his expressive use of colour and ink. From brightly coloured abstract paintings to his pure black ink drawings, Ocean Wheel showcases an artist’s devotion to working on paper as a key part of his output. Featuring drawings, paintings, artist’s books and prints spanning Gimblett’s career from the 1960s to 2010, including examples from his iconic quatrefoil and enso series, Ocean Wheel acknowledges this major gift to Ōtautahi Christchurch.
From the Store
Related reading: Mitchell / Gimblett
In mt last Bulletin foreword we looked backward, celebrating 200 issues and more than forty years of publishing. This time I want to use this space to look forward, and to think about what role this magazine will fill in the coming years. I want Bulletin to increasingly develop as a place for ideas, experiments and opinions. The writing in its pages will be guided by the Gallery’s programme, but we aim to expand upon the ideas and themes in an accessible manner. We want to aim high and continue to develop our readership as we believe Bulletin is one of the best and most readable art magazines in New Zealand.
Take the ‘A’ Train
Peter Vangioni: It’s late June, and you haven’t been outside for 16 weeks? Is that right? How are you and Barbara coping with the shelter in place order and are you able to work under these conditions?
Max Gimblett: Well, I’ve been out to put the garbage out twice a week—I cross the pavement and come back to the door. Some people are out there walking with their masks. Barbara is super cautious, you know because of our age, we can’t even come close to anybody. But we are doing very well in this lockdown, and have no plans to leave the loft.
Reading the Swell
The art of the sea has always been the art of vastness—without edges and with potential for infinite extension. It is this immensity that has invaded the Reading the Swell exhibition; finding its way through the automatic doors when no one is looking and quietly expanding the walls. Like sailors, artists have laid soundings in this uncharted vastness. Reading the Swell is a small and pointed selection of those soundings that see fit to make sense of the sea.
Since late 2006 when I started as director of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, I’ve written several times about our art collections in Bulletin forewords. Given their centrality to our daily work and our reason for being, this is unsurprising. So it’s good news that we’re focusing on collections in this edition of our quarterly journal.
Visitors to Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū can experience exhibitions by two renowned New Zealand artists in August.
It’s been a very strange time. We’ve spent the last month or so asking after each other’s bubbles, and imploring people we barely know to stay safe. Depending on your beliefs, this was the month that the world demonstrated that we could put the interests of people above those of finance, or the end of freedom. Everyone, in every industry and every sector of every society has been affected in some way. But our core business is art, and we’re very conscious of the effects of a global shutdown on artists. It’s too early to know what changes this will bring to our sector, so we’re concentrating on the here and now. If your life is focused on making art, how are you going? We asked eighteen New Zealand artists to send us a picture of their lockdown studio set-up, and asked them a few simple questions.
What’s your Covid-19 studio set-up? Is it the same as pre-lockdown or are you in something more makeshift?
How are you finding this time? Is it hard, or is it a gift of time, or maybe a bit of both?
What are you finding essential during lockdown? Is there a piece of equipment/view/song you couldn’t have lived without?
Here are their responses.
Dane Mitchell’s Post hoc conjures the ghosts of our past, calling up millions of lost, extinct and obsolete things.
It is mid-summer in Venice, and the pervasive cacophony of cicada song cuts through the heat and oppressive humidity. New Zealand’s presence at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia is housed within the former headquarters of the Instituto di Scienze Marine, the Palazzina Canonica. Located on the Riva dei Sette Martiri, on the southern edge of the island, it is only a few hundred metres to the entrance of the Biennale’s Giardini, with its permanent national pavilions.
This is an audio recording on CD, which includes a portable battery-operated CD player and speakers, in a pic-pac crate adapted to look like a ghetto-blaster. A voice (the artist’s) reads a lengthy text adapted from self-help books; the words address an art institution instead of an individual. “Trust your director’s intuition!” the voice instructs. “Quietly affirm that you will define your own reality from now on and that your reality will be based on your inner wisdom… You will remain a whole and worthy gallery among worthy galleries.”
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...
“All mind – no mind. You empty your mind, and you don’t have any activity, and you operate out of your body in that space in relation to your soul where you’re poetic and soulful. You just let it come.” —Max Gimblett The enso is the Zen circle of enlightenment. As a practicing ordained Rinzai Zen priest, Max has made the enso a central motif in his work, along with the quatrefoil. Enso is a simple yet complex form. There’s the in as the brush meets paper, and the out as it lifts away and the enso is finished. There is no beginning and no end; one full line that is continuous and infinite. The enso is empty and full at the same time, and symbolises unity, enlightenment, elegance and eternity. (Max Gimblett: Ocean Wheel, 1 August – 15 November 2020)
New York-based New Zealand artist Max Gimblett has a new exhibition at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, US. The Sound of One Hand opened on 17 September, and it would have been nice to be there.
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.