Tony Fomison

Not just a picnic

Not just a picnic by Tony Fomison

Artwork Detail

Tony Fomison spoke of his intention to make an ‘apocalyptic’ history painting for New Zealand, asserting a Māori presence on the often bare hills of New Zealand’s painting tradition. This imagined scene depicts three sets of figures among a landscape of cliffs and caves. The painting’s perspective is

constructed from within the caves, looking out into sunlight. The scene borrows heavily from a folder of clippings Fomison kept of images from sites where rock drawings had been found. In his early twenties, Fomison did formative archaeological work studying the Māori rock drawings of South Canterbury.

Despite its lack of specificity, this painting comes close to creating a mythic analogy to his study of Māori pre-history. The composition is powerfully attuned to the psychology of the figures, who are consumed by landscape.

Not just a picnic
Tony Fomison
Production date
epoxy on hessian on pinex board
1270 x 1856 x 70 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Friends of the Auckland Art Gallery, 1982
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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