Posts Tagged ‘Clairmont’

Ray of Light

It has been gloomy. I’ve been doing a little research about memory and the things we remember with and it led onto an exploration of loss; loss of our memory anchors, the objects of memory, our built memory. You cannot consider these things without sadness and frustration especially when you read things like this and this.

However today I received some slightly heartening news,  if trivial in comparison.

In terms of subject matter, most of Clairmont’s major series are implied in this set of drawings: there are chairs, tabletops, doorways, windows, a fireplace; with the exception of his nudes and self portraits, these compromise his major preoccupations. It is not an exaggeration to say that Clairmont spent the rest of his life exploring implications and possibilities he discovered in the sitting room of 26 Hereford Street

From “The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont” by Martin Edmond, (1999), Pg 130

I had the opportunity to enquire about the post-quake status of 26 Hereford Street and was sent this photo taken just this morning (thanks N.).

A brilliant example of work done in the front downstairs room and showing the bowed windows can be found here a typical scene for Clairmont done at night, illuminated by electric light.

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Large Works

I didn’t go to the opening of Milford Gallery’s “Large Works”, but I happened to walk past today and spied this through the window.

It really is LARGE…framed size (v x h): 2570 x 1960 mm

See it if you can.

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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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Hangin’ with art

So I had this idea that I would blog more this year…hahahaha. Still working at the kitchen table and about to sign up for another year in my little house, I remain deskless. But enough excuses.

In my survey of this house I was reminded about the picture hooks EVERYWHERE from the previous occupants. My question is what sort of art do you hang in your laundry, bathroom, loo? Maybe this for above the washing machine?

Clothesline in the Nor-Wester (1973) Philip Clairmont

As an aside , recently one of the kids was hit on the head by a large falling painting. Has anyone really been killed by art?

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Christmas Wishes

I am meant to be writing about Beloved at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, but I need a nice long uninterrupted thinking period for that and it’s just not happening in the Christmas rush. I will however tell you a little story stemming from that exhibition.

One section of the exhibition focusses on the spiritual, and in a  smaller corridor space are some lovely ‘Madonna and Child’ paintings. I heard it referred to as ‘the Christmas corner’, however central to this display is a large McCahon – The five wounds of Christ no. 3: Veronica. When I saw it, I thought it was just wrong having such a large reminder of the crucifixion after all the little babies. But then the next day my brother, who is a minister, sent me his weekly sermon (not that I am in any way associated with the church). This focussed on Mary’s knowledge of how things would end for her baby, even before his birth. In this context, the arrangement made complete sense. I hope this was what the curators intended, but I somehow doubt it. Hurray for happy accidents?

Not that I am trying to sermonise. Its just how yet again – art makes you think. Also DPAG has an amazing collection of historic art, including this one

ZANOBI MACHIAVELLI Madonna and Child (c.1460) Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

 So onwards to Christmas, and after seeing this (see picture #7) in the last few days, I came up with my Christmas Art Wish – to see all 3 Clairmont Fireplaces together again. As far as I know, one is in the Auckland Art Gallery, one in private hands and one at Christchurch Art Gallery.

What is your Christmas ART wish?

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Finally I get around to blogging this! Its been, as they say, a week of it!

First I should thank my sponsors. Flying around the place to look at art is not something I do routinely. In fact I realised the last time I was away from home over night without my kids was 3 year ago and that was work related. I had been saving up Flybuys points so I could get to Christchurch to see their big three winter exhibitions and ended up with only enough for a one way flight. I had considered an overnight bus option for return but I was incredibly lucky to win my return airfare via the AirpointsFairy on Twitter. Then I decided that I would splash out on my overnight trip and stay at a hotel rather than someones couch. The plan was quiet, non-kid interrupted sleep, writing and reading time. An e-friend had recommended HotelSo and I got a great deal on a  room there.

I have to say this is a VERY cool little Hotel. It’s very central and was also a bit of colour in what I found to be a very grey Christchurch. The rooms are small (not quite a pod concept) but have more than everything you need. I was particularly interested in the design aspects – all created in house for this hotel. The bathroom modules are a great execution of the idea of form and function (I want one!). I was a bit worried that I might be too old and boring for this reportedly ‘funky’ hotel but not at all. The kind of place that had a young farmers event and a punk band staying at the same time – and you’d never know.  Hotel SO is excellent value – I’d stay again in an instant. Oh and a shout out to the lovely service manager Chris who was a great help!

The pretty colours of my hotel – note the contrast with the GREY

Christchurch itself was a bit of a shock. I haven’t spent much time there for maybe 10 years but I’d forgotten the conformity, the grey, the little walls and everything in the central city so contained. Even the public art blended in. Thank heavens for the tiny bit of colour on Neil Dawson’s Chalice sculpture in the square. Regan Gentry’s Flour Power also seemed to flat and conservative and yet again – GREY.  Nucleus by Phil Price which was near my hotel, was at least a bit brighter but what is it with all the pointy sculpture? I can only think it is in response to the taller buildings and lack of horizon? The current Kiosk was a disappointment

Anyway – very quickly I headed down to the ‘Cultural Precinct’ and Christchurch Art Gallery. I love this area of Christchurch (fond memories and all that). The Arts Centre is a favourite place and of course I had to check in with a former Clairmont residence near-by in Hereford street. I will talk about the shows in my next post but one exhibition made the entire trip worthwhile!

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I got an email today from someone who stumbled across my blog having found themselves mentioned. I re-read the entry and it seems awfully ingenuous now. Oh well. The topics and writing here are fairly uneven.

Due to a ‘series of unfortunate events’ and bloody cold weather I have been somewhat unmotivated to blog. I have seen art, “I was Russia” at DPAG was good. I saw it on the opening day and floundered a bit with it because of the lack of explanatory written material – not even a photocopied page. I will go back , but I particularly liked the collective Factory of Found Clothing, which in part, dealt with artifacts.

Image from FFC.

I have been thinking a lot and writing a lot about the juncture of visual art and literature of late. While making another attempt to tidy up my bookshelves today I came across a book I picked up a while back, mainly because there was Clairmont woodcut print in it (The Birth of the Bomb Aug 1979). A crazy book made by William Millet a B29 pilot who flew over Japan post bomb. Things of iron & things of green, Nucleonic narrative about love and war, Things of iron like war and things of green like love is described as follows:

“Limited ed. of 1000 copies signed and numbered by the author. “The entire books was designed and printed by the author-publisher-designer William Millett using Garamond-Jenola & Caxton type faces on his Arab Letter-press & offset printed on a Heildelberg [sic] offset & part composed on an IBM golf-ball typesetter. The paper used Churston cover paper in the main.”–p. 4. Case bound and sewn in 4 signatures. Central hole in the front cover reveals the words of the title from the half-title page”

It made me think of a conversation I heard on the Kim Hill show last Saturday with Sherman Young. This book is an artifact in itself but also full of ideas and art from Hanley, Brown, Clairmont, Blair, Frizzell and others.  It looks a bit manky in today’s high production value world but I like it. When I pick it up, I am holding something important. Well that’s how it feels. It also makes me feel its from a time when people cared. OK, people still care but maybe not to collectively and widely. Its like we are numbed to the horrors of the world now. Maybe we have been so inundated by words and images but also distanced from wars, famines, diseases by our TV screens. I really don’t know. I am glad I have this book though.

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