<p><strong>Colin McCahon</strong><br />
<em>French Bay</em> 1957<br />
oil on canvas on board<br />
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 1984</p>

Colin McCahon
French Bay 1957
oil on canvas on board
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 1984

Monday 18 May 2015

A major programme of new exhibitions drawn from the world’s largest collection of New Zealand art is now on view at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

Presenting works by the country’s art luminaries such as Michael Parekowhai, Colin McCahon, Fiona Pardington and Bill Culbert, these exhibitions explore the network of connections that have influenced New Zealand art from the early 20th century to today.

Spread across three levels, the rolling suite of shows, New Zealand Art: Insights and Connections, occupies the majority of the Gallery’s floor space.

Auckland Art Gallery Principal Curator Dr Zara Stanhope says the programme takes a fresh look at New Zealand art and will be regularly updated.

‘By exploring diverse approaches to creativity through multiple shows, we have given focused and deeper insight to New Zealand art and its place in our country and beyond,’ she says.

Developed over the last year by a team of five in-house curators, the exhibitions showcase artworks that have been carefully selected from the Gallery’s collection of more than 15,000 items.

With additional items on loan from local and international private and public collections, all the displays tell multi-layered and engaging stories.

The relationship between past and present in modern Māori art, appropriation and homage in New Zealand and international art, the disturbing power of landscape in inter-war art, Cubism and its impact on New Zealand artists, and reflections on Aotearoa New Zealand as depicted by colonists and 18th-century voyagers are themes explored. 

‘These interlinked exhibitions reflect our changing cultural conditions and present creative perspectives on New Zealand life. Through them, we aim to offer memorable experiences that will inspire visitors to know themselves and understand their worlds,’ says Stanhope.

‘Audiences can select from these shows and works to create their own connections with New Zealand art,’ says Stanhope.  

Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says the New Zealand Art: Insights and Connections programme highlights a quality and diversity of artworks that are specific to New Zealand’s culture, history and place in the world.

‘Alongside the current solo projects by leading Auckland-based artists Lisa Reihana and Billy Apple, these exhibitions reflect Auckland Art Gallery’s powerful commitment to the art of Aotearoa New Zealand,’ she says.

All exhibitions are free to visit.


New Zealand Art: Insights and Connections exhibition summaries:

Printing the Pacific: 1696–1804
Until 26 July 2015

Using visual records from the period, this exhibition explores the way in which prints functioned as a means of generating and disseminating knowledge about the Pacific during the 18th century. Accounts of the European voyages of exploration, ranging from scientific botanical illustration through cartography and portraiture, mediated the first-hand experience of explorers for metropolitan audiences. An important record of the Enlightenment's intellectual culture, this exhibition also points to the visual tropes and academic traditions which informed ways of seeing at that time.

This exhibition forms a companion with Lisa Reihana: in Pursuit of Venus [infected].

He Iwi Rangatira
Until 26 July 2015

Rangatira, or chiefly people, played important roles in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. Their guiding presence helped the many iwi maintain strength in the face of rapid cultural and political upheaval. The exhibition includes portraits by Charles F Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer and other painters and photographers who recorded 19th century Māori life, alongside carved taonga (treasures).

A Pioneering Spirit
Until 26 July 2015

This exhibition displays painting, prints and photographs that draw out the migrant experience and the pioneering spirit of individuals in 19th century Aotearoa New Zealand. The artworks give an impression of early settler life and community. Includes work by Charles Heaphy, John Kinder, Charles Blomfield, Gottfried Lindauer and John Louis Steele.

Whano Kē: Change and Constancy in Māori Art Today
Until 6 March 2016

Whano Kē showcases examples of the diverse creativity in Māori art from the 1960s to the present day. The exhibition takes its title from the Māori words whano, which means to proceed forward, and kē, which indicates movement in more than one direction, and explores the way that Māori artists have brought traditions into the present.

Bringing together work by Shane Cotton, Chris Heaphy, Ralph Hotere, Michael Parekowhai, Fiona Pardington and other leading artists, Whano Kē conveys the thoughtful vigour of Māori creativity.

Te Wā Tōiri: Fluid Horizons
Until 6 March 2016

Artist Maureen Lander proposed the Māori title of this exhibition, which includes an installation by Ioane Ioane, wall sculptures by Niki Hastings-McFall and Lander's own weavings. Wā refers to space and time while tōiri is used in this context to mean to reverberate and tingle. A sense of continual movement pervades all the works and transports viewers through symbolic meanings, memory and place.

Seen from Elsewhere
Until 6 March 2016

Conveying humour and serious political statement, Seen from Elsewhere illustrates the ways a selection of New Zealand artists built relationships between themselves and overseas peers, earlier artworks and different cultural perspectives.

See how works by Jörg Immendorff, Michael Parekowhai, Ian Scott, Michael Stevenson and Imants Tillers collapsed time and distance and disrupted power structures with art that was critical and generative.

Monster Field: Surreal by Nature
Until 11 October 2015

Monster Field: Surreal by Nature considers the shared interests in the poetic and visionary sensibilities of Romantic landscape traditions with the Surrealists' interest in symbolic forms and found objects, from a selection of mainly New Zealand and British artists between the 1930s and 1950s. See the way bones, trees and stones take on new roles, evoking the unseen forces and mysterious qualities of a once familiar land, by artists sensitive to nature and history in painting and photography.

Extra Ordinary Everyday
Until 28 February 2016

The everyday is a significant theme in visual art. Art always reflects its context; domestic and commonplace subjects often indicate connections between art and life. This exhibition reveals different ways that the commonplace and ordinary aspects of daily life have been investigated, mimicked or transformed by New Zealand artists.

These artworks present diverse responses to what is homely, from the passionate to brutally objective, and expose well-known subjects in surprising and fantastical ways.

Freedom and Structure: Cubism and New Zealand Art 1930–1960
Until 6 March 2016

A revolutionary style, Cubism’s influence spread globally beyond Europe and the United States to Asia and our region, affecting other disciplines including architecture, design and fashion.

Freedom and Structure looks at the significant effect of Cubism on New Zealand painting, and reveals its impact on the work of initial adopters John Weeks, Louise Henderson and Colin McCahon. This exhibition explores how these artists incorporated the radical language of this style, weaving it into their work in inventive ways.

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