City Gallery Exhibitions - September-December 2001

Published: Fri 24 Aug 2001 11:33 AM
September-December 2001
Until 16 September 2001
This is the first exhibition of the work of New Zealand artist Rita Angus since 1982. The exhibition brings together three aspects of Angus’s oeuvre. The largest section of the show, ‘23 Self Portraits’, focuses on Angus’s self-portraiture and is curated by Vita Cochran. In the second, Peter Simpson examines links between Rita Angus, writer Lawrence Baigent and artist Leo Bensemann, who lived and worked together. Angus and Bensemann painted each other as subjects.
For the City Gallery exhibition, Vita Cochran will include ‘Rita Angus’s Wellington’. This exhibition includes around 25 Wellington paintings including a number of works that have been rarely and in some cases never exhibited before. The artist lived in Wellington from 1954 until her death in 1970. Based in Sydney St West, Thorndon, she painted some of the most iconic images of this city and the surrounding region. Angus's most loved paintings, View from Tinakori Road, Journey (Wellington), Flight and Boats, Island Bay are included.
Accompanying the exhibition will be a book entitled Rita Angus; ‘Live to paint and paint to live’, published by Hocken Library, Dunedin; City Gallery Wellington; and Godwit Publishers. Rita Angus is one of the most loved of New Zealand’s artists, yet it is 20 years since a book devoted to her work appeared. This publication explores the relationship between her life and the artworks to which she was so committed.
At the core of Angus’s oeurvre is a series of iconic self-portraits - some of them realistic, others surreal or even mystical. A generous selection of these extraordinary works is complemented by important examples of her landscape and still life work to create a rounded portrait of the artist and her world. The book will feature 24 full page colour reproductions, and black and white illustrations, and and essays from art historian Jill Trevelyan and curator of ‘23 Self Portraits’ and ‘Rita Angus’s Wellington’, Vita Cochran. Rita Angus; ‘Live to paint and paint to live will be a significant contribution to New Zealand art history as there has been no recent scholarly discussion of Angus’s work.
A joint project between City Gallery Wellington and the Hocken Library, University of Otago. Principal Sponsor Russell McVeagh. Generously supported by Creative New Zealand.
Until – 16 September 2001
This artist’s project initiated by City Gallery, Wellington, will show recent photographic work by the Wellington based artist and university lecturer Gavin Hipkins. Exhibiting regularly throughout New Zealand and internationally, Hipkins has emerged in the 1990s as one of New Zealand’s foremost young photographers. He was included in the Sydney Biennale of 1998 and his programme for this year includes ‘Arte 2000, 16 artists from 16 countries’ in Turin, Italy.
The City Gallery project, The Homely, cites a history of New Zealand and Australia by re-presenting elements that have been used to define nationhood(s) and historical folklore. As well as imaging colonial links to the late British Empire, The Homely explores the ongoing attempt by Pakeha to define their nativeness, and in so doing, to call their country ‘home’. Themes of Western suburbanisation, Catholicism and Americanism are explored in the latter part of the show.
The Homely is envisaged as a photographic frieze with images, or cultural fragments, sitting close to each other – relying on each other – for narrative thread. Images of museums, war memorials, statues and parts of paintings are part of this narrative. While many photographs have their place of origin in domestic settings, The Homely also ventures away from the domestic to explore the representation of New Zealand as an apparent natural paradise.
A New Zealand Artist Project commissioned by City Gallery Wellington. Generously supported by Creative New Zealand.
Until 16 September 2001
This exhibition presents images from the one of the most sustained and fascinating episodes of portraiture in New Zealand photography. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, renowned photographer Peter Peryer made numerous emotionally charged images of his wife Erika—the exhibition presents this photographic essay for the first time.
A major survey of Peter Peryer’s career—Second Nature—toured New Zealand and Germany in 1995-1996. Erika concentrates on one facet of Peryer’s multi-faceted career in which Peryer accomodates an expressionist painterly tradition within the traditions of documentary photography. In the vein of international artists such as Edward Weston and Nicholas Nixon who have also focused their camera’s eye on their wives or partners, the images partake of and adapt a much-debated tradition of the female subject as muse and poetic object.
A Dunedin Public Art Gallery Touring Exhibition.
Until 28 October 2001
Michael Illingworth is something of an enigma in New Zealand art history: a well-respected modernist painter about whom very little is known or recorded. Although Illingworth’s emblematic figurative paintings are featured in all major New Zealand public art collections, and have been collected by many private patrons, there has been no published research on his work. As part of its commitment to further scholarship into key figures of New Zealand art, the City Gallery will commission leading younger curators Damian Skinner and Aaron Lister to curate this important survey exhibition designed to bring Illingworth’s work to public prominence. The exhibition will explore Illingworth’s images of suburbia and the social context of his work, placing this idiosyncratic figure into the canon of New Zealand art history. The exhibition will feature a publication of the same name, and will be offered for tour to major New Zealand venues.
Principal Sponsor Ernst & Young. Generously supported by Creative New Zealand.
21 September—2 December 2001
Blurring Architecture presents work by revolutionary Japanese architect Toyo Ito who since the mid-1970s has become one of the world’s most innovative and influential architects.
Ito is known for creating extreme concept buildings, in which he seeks to fuse the physical and virtual worlds. For Ito, the human body now exists on two levels: our primitive, physical body seeks the beautiful light and fresh breeze found in nature, while our new virtual body responds to the electronic environment seeking information. It is through these dual bodies that we connect to architecture and the city.
Curator Andrew Barrie, a New Zealand designer and architect who is currently a scholar at the University of Tokyo, has selected Toyo Ito’s latest project the Sendai Mediatheque, Japan, as a vehicle for presenting Ito’s architectural genius. Completed in 2001, this building presents a radically new type of structure made up of just three types of elements – floor plates, structural ‘tubes’ and a skin. This has resulted in an open, free-flowing space and airy,filigreed structure – an architecture suited to our electronic, image-oriented culture.
Using new technology to create and present the work, this exhibition offers an exciting opportunity for the New Zealand public to become immersed in the vision of Toyo Ito, as gallery audiences have done in similar exhibitions staged in the UK, America and throughout Europe. Alongside models and plans, animated computer graphics and huge video-installations covering the gallery walls will offer a fascinating insight into Ito’s work on two levels: both the physical construction site and the architect’s creativity at his computer screen.
Mr Ito will open the exhibition in Auckland. A lecture tour has been organised by the New Zealand Institute of Architects and Mr Ito will deliver a public lecture in both Auckland (8 August, Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna) and Wellington (9 August, Park Royal).
The Toyo Ito: Blurring Architecture exhibition and lecture series is a joint project by Artspace, City Gallery Wellington and New Zealand Institute of Architects, with major support from Hardies. Generous support from Creative New Zealand, Asia 2000 and Montana.
21 September-28 October 2001
Ans Westra is one of New Zealand’s most significant documentary photographers whose work was brought into the public eye in 1964 with the Department of Education’s publication Washday at the Pa in which Westra photographed an East Coast Maori family living in rural poverty. Since then she has continued to explore aspects of New Zealand society which many people would prefer to ignore.
The series of 38 black and white photographs depict sex workers in massage parlours, strip-clubs and a brothel as the women wait for clients, dress, socialise or strip. A challenging exploration into the daily lives of these women, Behind the Curtain does not rely on nudity or the depiction of sex acts to provoke a quick response. Rather as Westra puts it, the series shows us ‘the ordinariness of much that goes on behind the curtain. The women told me many stories while I photographed, mostly about survival … Perhaps the photographs will allow you to get to know them a little, as I was privileged to.’
Behind the Curtain is organised and toured by the Manawatu Art Gallery.
City Gallery Wellington and Pataka Porirua Museum of Arts and Cultures, Wellington, New Zealand
28 September – 2 December 2001
The effect of digital technology on contemporary art practise has been explored by at least two major international art museums (the Whitney and San Francisco Modern) this year. Far away from the art world’s physical epicentres in Aotearoa New Zealand, the subject is being explored specifically in relation to the country’s Maori artists, examining how indigenous identity continues to be expressed in an increasingly digitised and globalised cultural setting.
Techno Maori - Maori Art in the Digital Age brings together work by a selection of contemporary Maori artists, expressing the diverse ways in which they are utilising or inspired by digital technology in their use of traditional, modern and contemporary media.
City Gallery Wellington and Pataka Porirua Museum of Arts and Cultures will work in partnership, presenting the exhibition concurrently at the two venues. A CD-ROM will act as shared third ‘virtual’ exhibition space binding together the two physical spaces of the exhibition.
A key component of this exhibition is considering how new ideas in Maori art relate to, extend or originate in custom and tradition.
“Just as, when European technology and materials first arrived in Aotearoa, our ancestors embraced and acculturated them,” says guest co-curator Jonathan Mané-Wheoki, “just as their descendants embraced and acculturated the artforms, materials and techniques of western modernism; so a new generation of Maori artists is utilising digital media.”
The work of many of these artists also suggests that, while digital connections have opened up their art on new fundamental levels to international influences, at the same time those influences are reaffirming their physical connection to the land in Aotearoa. These artists are both global roamers and Tangata Whenua.
Included are artists with rising international reputations, including Berlin-based Peter Robinson, who, together with tribal compatriot Jacqueline Fraser is currently representing New Zealand at the Venice Biennale, and Michael Parekowhai, whose celebrated installation 10 Guitars will be shown at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh as part of Popular CultureS (October 6 – February 9 2002). Well known artists will be joined by others whose reputations are just starting to be established.
The exhibition will encompass a wide range of media: painting, sculpture, installation, video, performance, photography etc. In keeping with the exhibition’s theme, equal curatorial status will be given to work presented through CD-ROM, video walls, film screenings and performance events. The exhibition’s public programme will also be a key extension of the exhibition’s concerns, exploring how other Maori artists are currently utilising and being influenced by digital technology.
Some work will be provided in purely digital form, be it video work in the gallery space or work on CD-ROM. However, the exhibition will also challenge assumptions that the meeting of art and technology will, by necessity, always involve computers, video monitors or the use of other new media in the final presentation of the work.
The exhibition will be, by turns, serene and profoundly silent and busy and noisy. In every respect it will create a sense of wonder which amplifies what many viewers are bound to ask themselves, ‘Is this really Maori art?
Techno Maori: Maori Art in the Digital Age is a partnership project between City Gallery Wellington and Pataka Porirua Museum of Arts and Cultures. Guest co-curators Jonathan Mané-Wheoki and Dr Deidre Brown. Generously sponsored by Creative New Zealand.
2 November 2001– 27 January 2002
[Information to come]
7 December 2001—10 February 2002
This exhibition continues the City Gallery’s commitment to supporting important mid-career artists. Wellington artist John Drawbridge has been a leading figure in New Zealand printmaking since his return from study in England and Europe in the mid-1960s. He has also produced some of the best-known public murals in this country—major examples being sited in the Beehive, the National Archives, Radio New Zealand House and the National Library. His work as a painter is less known but certainly as impressive. Melding influences from his time abroad with the physical environment of Island Bay, Wellington—where he has lived since 1965—he has produced an immense body of work.
Curated by the City Gallery’s Greg O’Brien, Drawbridge is the first exhibition to present this artist's paintings and prints on a major scale. It features 20 major oil paintings and over 50 etchings, watercolours and works on paper. Investigations are underway to include works by European Masters such as Picasso and Malevich which have inspired Drawbridge’s artistic practice.
360/Michael Hirschfeld Gallery
24 August – 23 September 2001
‘We are outdoor people’ Juliet Peter says, describing her need for gardens, landscapes, vistas, park benches. Peter’s love of the outdoors and its prominence in her vision permeates her work—from the watercolours of the 1940s to later prints and paintings focusing on the bush surrounding her Ngaio home and the changing nature of Wellington city and suburbs. Curated by Mary-Jane Duffy, Outdoor People is a timely celebration of Juliet Peter’s work, and is presented to coincide with the exhibition Rita Angus: ‘live to paint and paint to live’. Juliet Peter and Rita Angus met at Art School and formed a lasting friendship, sketching the Bolton Street Cemetery together in the late 1960s before its partial relocation and destruction.
28 September – 28 October 2001
With this site-specific installation Maddie Leach continues her investigation into spaces which house idleness, moments of leisure which are imbued with silence and stillness. Gallery Seven explores the activity of ice-skating, incorporating life-size video projections of a lone circling ice-skater and sealing off the gallery space to evoke an atmosphere of structured idleness. The installation investigates the merging of the sporting and the artistic; the contemplative and the performative; the physical and the cerebral.
2 November – 2 December 2001
Curated by the City Gallery’s Rebecca Wilson, this exhibition presents recent work by emerging artists. Presented at the time of the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery’s two-year anniversary, it continues the Gallery’s commitment to supporting the work of younger Wellington artists.
7 December 2001 – 13 January 2002
Mark Gardiner is 48, lives in Newtown and is a self-taught artist. His work explores aspects of the urban environment and its inhabitants. His subjects are as various as sunbathers on Freyberg beach, the bus crowd in Courtenary Place and the busy traffic of children through the inner city suburbs. He also paints religious works, carrying on the tradition of 'alternative' religious art epitomised by Paul Gauguin, Ben Shahn, Howard Finster and Colin McCahon. This exhibition at the Hirschfeld Gallery will be the first solo exhibition by this ardently independent painter.
City Gallery Wellington is open 10am-5pm daily (except Christmas Day). Admission free. Information line: 04 801 3952.

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