Robin White

Harbour Cone

Harbour Cone by Robin White

Artwork Detail

Robin White moved to Dunedin in 1972 and bought a cottage near Portobello on the Otago Peninsula. White’s practice is predominantly informed by her responses to location and she found inspiration in her new environment, depicting Harbour Cone, which she could see from her studio window, in at least 16 paintings, prints and drawings throughout her practice. These works either focussed on the features of the landscape themselves or explicitly introduced a personal narrative through the inclusion of family members. Speaking of Harbour Cone, White states that she has “….done very many paintings of Harbour Cone – it’s like an icon in the landscape and seems to take on a sort of spiritual significance” (quoted in Art New Zealand 7, August/September/October 1977). As with White’s other artworks, this drawing of Harbour Cone is a depiction of a characteristic feature of the New Zealand landscape that is infused with iconic and personal significance. This work not only expresses White’s relationship to the land but also speaks to a collective understanding and appreciation of New Zealand’s natural environment.This drawing has a close relationship with the silk screen, Harbour Cone 1973. The drawing is not preparatory or a reproduction of the work, but is rather a different iteration of a similar subject. Writing about the relationship between print, painting and drawing, White states that she views prints “As a completely separate thing…. Initially, there’s an idea…. If I do a drawing of it, or a painting or a print, they’re all separate, even thought they’re all of the same image. They’re all different insomuch as each medium requires a different approach, a different way of translating the image. I conceive them separately… In some ways it’s [drawing’s] a coming to terms with it, but always the painting presents its own battle, its own requirements. And a print is never a reproduction of a painting. It makes its own demands, it has its own life, its own thing going for it.” In this drawing Harbour Cone is schematised and stylised through intersecting hard lines and blocks of colour. The mountain and its surrounds are flattened and presented almost diagrammatically. In writing about the landscape, White says that she is “not concerned with just recording something though. I take great liberties with the environment, using it to my own ends. I’ve always been conscious that painting is fundamentally an abstract thing” (quoted from Robin White, “Art and conservation are synonymous”, Art New Zealand 7, August/September/October 1977).

Harbour Cone
Robin White
Production date
graphite on paper
460 x 310 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Robert Cox, 2016
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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