Archive for May, 2010

Hard work

I have worked really hard today so instead of a blog post I will treat you to a YouTube clip of my own personal “entrance music”

Ukuleles RULE! (sorry Merc – you might prefer this one which is lovely)

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Seems like it might be time to send out a dove. Although the flood waters got VERY close to us, “lapping at the top of the stop-bank”, the rain eased and we seem to be ok. The lake in our back yard has drained away even. It’s a relief!

I still haven’t got any non-household work done today…but I’ve been thinking about Dora Carrington – not sure why. Maybe because I read an article about Emma Thompson this morning (when I grow up I want to be her) and she played Carrington in the marvellous film.

I found this post which has some amazing images, including this photo:

Carrington, -?-, Lytton Strachey

Which for some reason reminds me of this one:

(click for larger image – please excuse bad scanning)

I love Anne Hamblett (later Anne McCahon) in the centre of the picture. She’s gorgeous! And that little comment brings me to another realisation I’ve had recently. I am fascinated by all the little biographical details of the people/artists I research. After long discussions with some pretty serious art historians I can see that these details don’t always affect the reading of a work but I find them enthralling. Alternatively, I know several people who just don’t want to know anything about “the lives of the artists” at all. Takes all types I guess….  :-)

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I am going to blame the weather, but today has been quite dispiriting.

I have been fluffing about, half-heartedly preparing an application at the last minute, during the course of which I had to have a hard look at what I am doing and have done with my life in the form of a work CV history and a writing CV.

I asked for advice from many quarters and got it – thanks everyone! Even thanks to the person who, when I whined that my CV didn’t seem ‘arty’ enough, suggested I add pictures ;-)

I am filled with self-doubt. So I turned to the internet for cheering up and I found that Unhappy Hipsters make me happier. That’s not going to get this application done though.

Mind you, I haven’t yet turned to drink

Edgar Degas L’absinthe 1876

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I thought I was getting used to the weather here, but then we had rain – heavy rain every day this week. I live at the end of Mosgiel that is close to Silver Stream. It’s only a stream until it rains a lot and yesterday it got very near to the top of the stopbank between my house and it. Phew!  Today we had rain, sleet, hail, the odd snow flake and now more sleet. I like snow better than rain because its drier, but actually I just want it to be warmer. I’ll settle for a pair of gumboots though.

So I got to thinking about early settlers in NZ trying to cope with this weather just to make myself feel better, and I remembered poor old Ada from “The Piano” in the endless rain and mud. Made me happy to have my old dryer in the garage I can tell you. I thought too of Petrus Van der Velden and his majestic ‘bad weather ‘ paintings of New Zealand. Maybe it didn’t strike him as too bad if you look at his pre-NZ work.

I am fond of this

Petrus Van der Velden Snow on sand dunes 1880
Collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

But particularly this (click for larger image)

Petrus Van der Velden A Dutch Funeral 1872
Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu

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  • There is a Seraphine Pick show opening at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery* next week. I had a flyer for it on my desk [ahem – kitchen table] and my nearly 3-year-old wanted to know “what is the horse for?”

Séraphine Pick Girl (with offered eyes) 2004
Private Collection, Auckland

  • Its been REALLY wet here. Thankfully the stop bank I live quite close to, did its job. Not so lucky for some of the Maori Rock Art at Duntroon
  • I find the BP oil spill in the USA horrifying. I suppose at least some good street art stems from it.
  • Once, quite some time ago, I  briefly took up smoking because the place where I worked let smokers have more frequent breaks than us non-smokers. I wish I’d had these instead.

* Please guys, can fix up your website so I can link directly to exhibitions….?

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Two weeks ago, I met and had a coffee with Paul Reynolds when he was down here in Dunedin. I was absolutely shocked to hear of his death this past Sunday. As that was the first time I’d met Paul, although we’d chatted on twitter and Facebook, I am not equipped to talk of him but there is a wonderful tribute here with links to others. It is a great loss for New Zealand.

What impressed me at our meeting apart from his passion and enthusiasm, was his ability to see the ‘big picture’. One of the many things we discussed, was my wish for an ability to search across all public and corporate art collections that are online from one point.

Today I was looking for a specific photograph by Marti Friedlander, so I thought I would give NZMuseums a try instead of go to each gallery/museum/collection website. I came up with two  photos, but not the one I wanted. I suspected a copy of the photo I was looking for was held by the Christchurch Art Gallery, but although linked to NZMuseums, they only had 21 searchable artworks.

I then thought I’d give the search functionality at DigitalNZ a go and I got 188 hits that had images and third on the list was the one I was looking for.

Paul Reynolds was heavily involved with Digital NZ and strongly encouraged institutions to get their collections online. I was very impressed by what worked for me today and can only hope the momentum keeps going and more and more items can be accessed in this way.

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You know you have been researching the life of a significant New Zealand artist too much, when all you can think of is Col’n Carpenter.

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