This is the third exhibition in the series showcasing the New Zealand landscape and the people who inhabit it. Some 85 million years ago this country broke away from the Gondwana supercontinent, and the primeval forces it was subjected to are apparent in the rugged Central Otago landforms in Bruce Hunt’s Geomorphology, Mt Kyeburn. Through the relentless effects of erosion and human activity, the land has since been worn smooth, as in Brent Wong’s unidentified Hills & Dam, Lake Under Clouds.
Jim Wheeler’s bronze, Pohutukawa – Matariki, acknowledges both the Maori New Year and the coastal evergreen whose crimson blooms qualify it as New Zealand’s native Christmas tree. Prior to humans, this was a land of birds, and Nigel Brown makes a plea for the conservation of the kokako. Aroha Gossage records the ghostly remnants, at Pakiri in eastern Northland, of the vast cabbage tree and kahikatea swamps that once characterised lowland New Zealand. Extensive bushland has made way for paddocks; Ray Ching portrays our once ubiquitous sheep, whose population peaked at just over 70 million in 1982, and Peter McIntyre’s Blue Cliffsis a tribute to the iconic rural woolshed. The land is still in transition, as witnessed by the spread of human settlement in Zarahn Southon’s Eden, in West Auckland.
Nuie-born artist John Pule addresses Pacific history and mythologies, and the impact of colonisation.
And outside the gallery stands the sculpture Fa’afafine, by Fatu Feu’u, which acknowledges those people in his native Samoa who identify as belonging to a third gender.
Recreation is the theme of the aptly-named Fun & Gamesby the late Christchurch artist Llew Summers, known for his monumental sculptures of the human form. More serious, not least from the birds’ point of view, is Ken Kendall’s bronze, 1stof May, marking the start of the duck-shooting season. Moving from representation to gestural is Max Gimblett’s quatrefoil, Mustard Seed, while Ann Robinson’s 2016 crystal glass bowl, Watcher: Treasures of the Earth, with its coloured discs referring to nine elements from the earth – among them uranium, chromium and copper – brings a sense of serenity and timelessness to this collection.
- Richard Wolfe
Colour page catalogue, 150 x 210
RRP $15.00 plus P&P.