Archive for July, 2010

Poetry Day

It’s New Zealand National Poetry Day. I wish I knew of some visual arts poems but I don’t. I did however, VERY much like this poem from Mark Young though who kindly let me post it here:

A line from Courtney Love

English newspapers
laced up their tennis
shoes, Real Madrid
went on another goal

spree, the strife-prone
household insulation
program turned on
its heel & headed to

a park; but not even
a change in appetite &
toilet habits can stop
the generally low inter-

city mobility of urban
populations. So. We
drowned them all in
their swimming pools.

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The Blog Life

I was so busy for a while focussing on a project that when I finished it felt like my brain had turned to mush and I really didn’t have much to share to here. Then today I read this wonderful post by one of the Helens and it was very familiar territory for me.

What I have been doing though, has culminated in a catalogue essay for a Jeffrey Harris exhibition which opens this Friday.

 Jeffrey Harris Untitled #5, 1980-1981

The artist has described these scenes as actors in a series of dramas, their players are often trapped, often provided release. It has been noted that Harris, in these works, has the power “to communicate through a literal meaning, the opaqueness of the non-literal. The three paintings on exhibition at the Brett McDowell gallery are from a series of seven completed in 1981, two have never been exhibited before.”

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Back in the saddle

Well almost. I have been working really hard on a new essay which coincided with the school holidays. Ironically now that it is almost done, from tomorrow onwards I will have a substantial amount of child-free time every day for the first time in quite a number of years.

I’ll enjoy it while I can, as I am also job hunting.

I’ve seen A LOT of art in the last few months and must catch up with it all. Today I managed to take the kids to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. It was good, but to be honest was a bit like this

OR maybe this

Will report back soon.

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Make It Work

School holidays, deadlines, research, plan changes, backlogs of other things piling up, and yes, the blogging suffers…What does one do?

Well because I don’t have Tim Gunn  here to prod me along, I bought these from Emma Makes.

They are also the editing pencils of DOOM. Thanks to the very clever Emma!!!! (I am now coveting one of her ukulele bags)

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Change of Pace

With a vague connection to my historic Dunedin research, and through the good graces of the @AirpointsFairy , a few weeks back I found myself at the last rugby test match to be played at Carisbrook in Dunedin. I have to say I am NOT a huge sports fan and have only ever been to Carisbrook once before – a cricket test match in the 1980’s.  As for rugby, I used to hold season tickets to Athletic Park and happened to be at the last test match played there too (Its been suggested I am death to international rugby grounds).

Poor photo but I think it captures the spirit of the event – and the stuff you don’t see on TV

Anyway – while I was sitting in the stand feeling like a fish out of water (and while making interesting observations about crowd dynamics*), I tried to make a few arts connections to the ground. There seemed to be quite a few literary ones – Brian Turner wrote about it as just one example. I got to thinking about sports people and art. Stereotypically there is not usually a lot of cross-over, which is why my lazy “go to guy” for rugby/art connections is Anton Oliver.  I figured there must be more and after a bit of hunting around I came up with this poignant little interview with Kees Meeuws who started a Fine Arts degree at Elam.  And then someone suggested Neemia Tialata to me. (Is the art connection a front row thing I began to wonder**?)

Anyway – through the magic of the internet the man himself consented to do a little email question and answer session with me as follows:

A&ML: I read that you had an interest in creative subjects when going through school and were working on a Diploma in Visual arts. Did you manage to complete your diploma alongside your sporting commitments?

 NT: Yes I love being creative. I still have a year to do on my diploma, I had to pull out on my last year because it’s quite demanding with rugby being full-on but I will go back and finish it one day.

 A&ML: I’ve seen some of your graphic design work including T-shirts created to raise funds following the tsunami in Samoa and your tattoo designs [also clothing]. Does your role as a professional sportsman leave much time for creative work these days?

NT: Yes, now days I spend most of my time designing and creating on my laptop which comes quite handy being on the road a lot with rugby and it’s a great way to get my head away from rugby every now and then. 

A&ML: Have the constraints of your ‘day job’ turned you into more of an arts viewer than a creator and enabled you to see more art around New Zealand and internationally, for example your visit to see da Vinci’s Last Supper in Italy last year?

NT: Yeah I guess so. I’ve been very fortunate to travel around the world seeing lots of different art/architect/landscape etc places like Italy,France,London and many more where it all originated from. Has made me appreciate Art a lot more.

A&ML: Do you feel that art provides a balance to the physicality of professional rugby?

NT: I think anything you love and enjoy outside of your profession brings balance to what ever you do. It sure does help me stay focus and motivated with rugby when I’m fresh mentally and physically. 

A&ML: A clichéd question, but what art inspirers and/or influences you? Any specific styles or particular artists?

NT: I do like and support all New Zealand artists, the likes of Michael Tuffery, Ralph Hotere, Nigel Brown, just because I studied them all and many more during my college years. 

A&ML: Do you see the arts playing a part in an ‘after rugby’ career?

NT: Yes I definitely will go back and complete my last year with my arts then a year at teachers college and hopefully one day teach art and working with kids…

Thanks so much Neemia Tialata for doing this interview! 

Recently I’ve come across a lot of people who find Art boring and inaccessible, and yet you can see here, that the universality of the art experience can range from me here at my suburban kitchen table to the front row of an international rugby scrum.

*Interesting that when told NOT to throw plastic bottles in the air during Mexican wave, even the well dressed middle-aged man next to me in the main stand immediately did so.

** My partner, who has a strong appreciation for the arts, is also a prop

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When does the art detective work start causing delusions????

I have always loved this painting by Russell Clark (only linking in case Te Papa takes a hit out me – I can’t afford their fees to officially publish here sorry). It captures a time in Dunedin that intrigues me. I haven’t done much work to see if anyone has tried to identify the figures, but I think Clark himself is just below the picture of the horse, dark hair and fag in his mouth. I am guessing this because the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography entry reads “Slightly built and dark-skinned, with a mop of wavy dark hair, Clark was seldom seen without a cigarette to his lips.”

Now look at the young man in the brown suit in the middle left, who seems to be looking out into the distance. To me he looks like this person (persevere with the link – accept the terms and it will take you to the portrait).

I suppose this is old news? The two paintings are of the same era. Clark’s is 1934-1938 and the Lusk portrait 1939, and they moved in the same small circles, so it’s fairly likely. Of course I may be taking it all too literally.

I just wish I could post the paintings side by side here…

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