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Archive for July, 2009

Heartening

A little while back I found this sculpture in the local gardens. I love it to bits and was a little concerned that being where it is, that one day it might just disappear.

I decided to contact the Otago Sculpture Trustand was subsequently contacted by Peter Nicholls, sculptor and Chairperson of the OST.  After some discussion of where the piece was and total lack of record of it, Peter recently took up the challenge to come and visit it.

I am very heartened to hear that for a start the sculture is still there (it was slated to be removed 2 years ago) and it is possibly going to be ‘taken under the wing’ of the sculpture trust.

WIN!

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© P Dawson (2009)

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I noticed

In the alleyway outside Blue Oyster Gallery.

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Photo: ©P Dawson 2009

I love the moko’d Cook (a la Nigel Brown). Its also weird (or not) that some of the best street art I’ve seen here seems to be very close to galleries.

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Today is Montana Poetry Day. I’ve been thinking for a while what I’d pick to post here on this occasion. Had to be a NZ poem for a start and apt somehow. I wanted to post Dryads by Martin Edmond but maybe a little too x-rated :-).

So I reached for “Under Flagstaff” an anthology of Dunedin poetry and found this, which sums up where I am at (maybe)

Dunedin by CK Stead
(Remembering James K. Baxter, 1966)

Evening where Taieri moved
between dark McCahon hills

fog threatened. You were back
in your aquarium town

wearing your flesh and blood
as if it belonged to you.

Would I get out? Would
it close on Momona?

In the womb we were all
fish. Once was enough.

Any bad-coloured sky
I’d have risked climbing

scaled any barnacled chain –
yet there you went, at home,

submariner for God
telling the squid and the skate

‘Open your gills, my brothers.
Enjoy the life of the deep.”

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I heard Kim Hill’s interview with Peter Peryer last Saturday morning (audio here) and she kept asking him why?, why? does he take these photos. I’ve been thinking on this and wonder, does it even matter? Perhaps “What?” is the more relevant question.

In recent discussions about good/bad art some one said “What is the artist trying to do and do they achieve that?” which seems a more basic question. But do we even need to know that?

Kim Hill seemed concerned about why Peryer would photograph this chicken. I am glad he did – for it is unlikely I would see a chicken in this way. As I’ve said before a favourite photo is of whitebait but I am also very fond of this.

In art photography it has always seemed to me that the photographs enable me to see through another’s eyes. This gives me a hugely varied outlook – a new way of seeing. What might be interesting (and it may have been done) is to ask some top photographers to photograph the same thing or perhaps give them a theme. The variety that would come back would be amazing – I would expect.

In fact doesn’t all art provide us with another person’s take on the world? I am doing my best to get to Christchurch at the moment* so I can see the Christchurch Art Gallery’s “Big 3” shows – Ronnie Van Hout, Seraphine Pick and et al. These three contemporary New Zealand artists (and collectives) illustrate their world so different they are perfect examples of my point.

I have been taking photos lately of local scenes that artists such as McCahon have painted.  Even taking ‘artistic license’ into account, its interesting to me how differently these painters have seen the landscape – recognisable but not…I wonder if they were trying to make sense of their world by interpretation, as I am.

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Milhouse Van Hout(en) – a distant relative of Ronnie’s (because I am trying to be good about not nicking images off the interwebs of artists’ work)

*Any donations towards travel expenses happily accepted

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I noticed

Hocken Lecture 2009

Patron and Painter: Colin McCahon and Charles Brasch. Dr Peter Simpson.
Burns 1 Lecture Theatre, Monday 27 July, 5.30pm.

I will be there!

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Today I finally got out to Port Chalmers and the Hotere Sculpture Garden. I’ seen photos. I’d read about it but it was a bit of a let down. I am not sure why. I liked Chris Booth’s Aramoana well enough.

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Brick Column Russell Moses & Aramoana Chris Booth (photo © P Dawson)

I think maybe its partly because as a public garden these sculptures have been altered somewhat. Here are some excerts from the website  to explain what I mean:

“This is a site-specific work, the title partly refers to the view of Aramoana previously obtained from the sculpture. Addressing public safety concerns, barbed wire has had to be installed. Originally Aramoana was bedecked with considerably more flotsam and jetsam, including bones and a wind chime.”

“The bar [on top of Brick Column] previously rotated on its own axis in a strong wind as a compass of sorts; it now points to docks area where the bricks originally landed. The column was originally constructed, free standing and self-supporting, but when reconstructed in 2006, was made with mortar in line with public access and safety concerns.”

Black Phoenix II has a sturdy fence around it and I think its a wonder they didn’t “cover up” Shona Rapira Davies ‘They do cut down the poles that hold up the sky’.

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Black Phoenix II Ralph Hotere (photo © P Dawson)

The whole history of how this garden ocurred is kind fo sad – the ports and business demolishing art so I guess it is good a middle ground was reached in having this garden at all – one shouldn’t complain.

Back to Black Phoenix II. I gather it is built from the same burnt out boat as Black Phoenix (in the Te Papa Collection). I much much prefer the latter and hope it gets out and seen more. It is an astounding work. I found Black Phoenix II difficult and couldn’t even get a really good photo of it.

Next visit out this way I hope to see the Hotere’s at Carey’s Bay Hotel.

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I noticed

‘A small town exacts great conformities. The slightest divergence and you are mad.’
Dan Davin Roads from Home

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