From Godwit/Kuaka to Framing Place

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Friday 2 August 2013
Ngahiraka Mason

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Ralph Hotere’s painting Godwit/Kuaka, which has been on display since we reopened in September 2011, has been taken down to make way for a new exhibition. The 18-metre long Godwit/Kuaka is remarkable, as was its presence in the long Gibbs gallery on our ground floor. Contained in the title of the painting is a symbolic association to the annual migration of the kuaka from the earthly portal of Te Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua to Siberia and the shores of Asia. Such things remind us that change is constant and inevitable.

Replacing Godwit/Kuaka is the exhibition Framing Place, which looks at the scope and range of sky and landscape images that reflect our place in the world. The artworks in the exhibition by Laurence Aberhart, Andrew McLeod and Jae Hoon Lee indicate how the literal and metaphoric framing of land also shows the imprint of people, and in so doing, conveys a relationship to place. These depictions of the natural environment evoke emotional connections to a birthplace and homeland.

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Aberhart’s Taranaki photographs include scenes that dramatically demonstrate the effects of different kinds of light and the way this and the area’s weather influences our feelings about the omnipresent mountain and its surrounding landscape.

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Jae Hoon Lee’s work Sunday comprises two back-illuminated images showing an arrangement of puffy cumulus clouds which have the appearance of an explosion.

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The painting Large Green Landscape, by Andrew McLeod, is an imaginary, peopled landscape; a tableau that might act as a frieze. This sampling of contemporary art offers an open-ended inquiry into framing place in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Image credits: 
Ralph Hotere
Godwit/Kuaka (detail) 1977
lacquer on hardboard
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
gift of Auckland International Airport Ltd 1997

Laurence Aberhart 
Taranaki (and cloud), Wanganui, 15 April 1986 1986
gelatin silver print 
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki 
gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 1998 

Jae Hoon Lee
Sunday 2005
duratran print, aluminium, Perspex (lightbox)
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2006 

Andrew McLeod
Large Green Landscape 2012
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
purchased with funds from the Elise Mourant Bequest, 2012