Dick Frizzell

Black Geisha

Black Geisha by Dick Frizzell

Artwork Detail

Dick Frizzell once said, 'Walking through a supermarket, I feel like Van Gogh walking through a wheatfield'. In this transformation, lush nature gives way to a cornucopia of labelled commodities and the heroic pretensions of fine art are defused with humour and irony. The idea of painting something as prosaic as a label came to Frizzell when a friend of his son arrived with a tin of mackerel as an offering for lunch. 'Here was something that I could paint that didn't say anything but sure as hell could do a lot - or at least say a lot about painting!'. The artist's first solo exhibition in 1976, the A-fishial Art Show, with its gaudy fish tin labels and comic-book characters, celebrated the richness of the everyday as if it was seen for the first time. Frizzell had a hand in creating a New Zealand icon, the cartoon duo 'Ches' n Dale', and his background in the shorthand world of advertising is apparent in this exuberant painting with its fluent drawing and graphic verve. He exploits all the glistening qualities of viscous enamel to capture the oily iridescence of the fish inside the tin. Both the subject matter and its presentation are from the non-art world of the corner dairy - where slick enamel paint is used by signwriters to depict the condensation on bottles of soft drink or steaming fresh bread. (from The Guide, 2001)

Black Geisha
Dick Frizzell
Production date
enamel on board
780 x 1000 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1978
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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