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Posts Tagged ‘Friedlander’

A recent post from Peter Peryer along with my visit to the Wayne Barrar show at DPAG, has got me thinking again about the nature of photography as art.

In my own mind photography is art. Hanging about in a gallery stock room today with Laurence Aberhart and Ben Cauchi works just reiterated this to me. Peryer’s work is certainly art.

So why do I have more trouble in the equally as beautiful photos of Ans Westra and some of  Wayne Barrar‘s work? I see these as a possibly a cross into documentary and photo journalism. Marti Friedlander perhaps spans this? Perhaps there is no difference at all.

My reaction to art is often emotional. Photography as an art form is the perfect illustration of art being a way of seeing the world through another’s eyes.  Maybe my issue with more documentary type photos is that it is just what my eye might see, the more artistic photography is something I might never see for myself…I am not sure if that makes any sense. Also all the artists I have mentioned have a great range and there is no defining them really.

I was thinking about Anne Noble’s “In the Presence of Angels” series last week too. I like the blurring of definitions and realities there. Maybe this series appeals because in my loud and busy life, the apparent calm and simple quiet of the convent seems very desirable.


Anne Noble. The Walled Garden of the Enclosure. 1989. silver gelatin print

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Artful day

While driving someoneiknow to work this morning I came across a very similar scene to this (but not in black and white)

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MARTI FRIEDLANDER Eglinton Valley 1970
Black and white photograph

Then this afternoon my oldest daughter danced on the beach with seaweed in her hands just like in “The Piano“. A discussion also ensued online about my artificial fingertip and possibly being the Tony Lommi of the ukulele. I still prefer Ada’s.

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Still from “The Piano

And tonight I feeling very middle class by booking my oldest daughter riding lessons, which bought to mind this music (warning plays actual music). What an odd TV series that was (but I loved it anyway). Or maybe it should be Follyfoot?

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Art today

So what art was in my life today?

Well first I have to mention Lolvant garde which is an art take on Lolcats (I can has cheezburger). The cats make me laugh most days – I even considered adding them to my blogroll. A fine example being Schrodinger today which inspired fall on the floor laughter that brands me as a geek. Lolvant garde doesn’t hit the mark quite so well but I am liking this (although I would have left off the 2nd part of the caption):

I think a lot of fun could be had captioning NZ art works.

I had to take back some books to the library which included “Larks in Paradise” (1974) text by James McNeish and photos by Marti Friedlander. This is a great ‘snapshot’ of a particular time in NZ and “a vision of a ‘dull’ New Zealand with portraits of people standing unsmiling in urban or rural settings“. There was a photo “Subdivision 1966” which I liked a lot.

I also came across a great collection of photos of street art in Wellington in oSiniSteRo on MySpace. As usual I Iiked the stencil stuff. I guess that’s fairly typical of someone of my demographic. This is not the best technical example, but I like the message.

I tried chasing up a local Gallery ‘Cobalt’ to check when they are open. “Cobalt Gallery is a studio gallery that presents emerging and established contemporary artists from the Kapiti Coast region and beyond.” I don’t really know but I was kind of hoping they might be ‘beyond’ just paintings. It would be nice to see something a little more ‘conceptual’ out here. Looks like they are open 10am-4pm in the weekends. I will report back.

Lastly I started hunting down some film for a Polaroid camera I acquired this week. The film is not being made any more so its looking quite expensive. I like the idea of doing some ‘altered polaroids’. I gather some interesting effects can be had with the ‘write-on’ film but also “during the development process the image can be manipulated by applying pressure to the mylar envelope that encases the image. This pressure and manipulation will cause changes as the chemicals are forming the image“. I like this ‘manual’ approach when so much is done digitally now.

Would be nice if we had “The Arts Channel’ (if we had Sky at all) but I have 3 art documentaries all lined up on DVD for the weekend, which is something to look forward to.

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What’s Hot?

In an email received earlier this week the writer was saying that a particular curator had precise intuition of “what’s hot and what’s not” in the art world and that a specific subject was most likely “not”. So what is currently ‘hot’  in New Zealand art? A book I picked up today asked “is art whatever the people with the power say it is?” So is what’s hot basically what the ‘hot’ people say?

Also, what is ‘hot’ in a 20th century/contemporary sense?  I’ll be honest – I had to look up the definition of contemporary art and there seems to be two. Its either art produced NOW (and what does that mean? – art made last year isn’t contemporary?) or art produced since World War II. If its the latter – I am all over it, if its in the present, well I guess I am lagging a bit on that. As an aside, when do contemporary artists cease to be contemporary?

In NZ art there is a line up of post WWII (contemporary?)  artists that I call the ‘usual suspects’. Names that include Hanly, Walters, McCahon, Hotere etc. I guess my list was influenced early on by the book “Contemporary New Zealand Painters (Vol 1 A-M)” with photos by Marti Friedlander. I also see many of these artists have produced what is now called ‘investment art’ .  The thought of buying art purely for financial gain is as bad to me as choosing an artwork based on the fact that it matches your couch. However it means you probably know the artists I am talking about.

Someone said the other day “XXXX is hardly mentioned these days in the canon of NZ painting–or is he?. What’s his position in NZ art history now?…”. Is there some sort of ranking system, obviously not official but based on what? sales/prices? My own view is hopelessly skewed because of my personal interests, research and those artists and their works favoured on a emotional basis so I can’t tell. I was going to do a quick survey of galleries, sales and exhibitions and see whats comes up frequently, but if Paton said there is a ‘glut’ of art, I think its positively a slurry. In Gaylene Preston’s recent documentary ‘Lovely Rita’, Graeme Sydney said that these days “artists are thick on the ground“.

You know, anonymous, non-sanctioned art is so much less complicated…

Well that’s a lot of questions. I’ll keep a look out for answers but I am unlikely to find them as I’ve never been one for trends and fashions.

So I leave you with a Marti Friedlander photograph of an artist who probably is ‘not’ (except in my universe) with some paintings and photos of some that are. A chocolate fish to the first person who can name her (its an EASY one).

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EDIT: I guess no one likes chocolate fish – maybe too iconic?

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