Posts Tagged ‘Gimblett’


I am in a particularly bad mood today so small things are annoying me. I picked up the latest copy of the Listener to find MORE art journalism and I am going to be mean about it. Actually one of the reasons I dont’ do review and critique very well is that I don’t like upsetting people but today I am throwing caution to the wind.

Lindsay Rabbitt has written a 3 page article (albeit with a large illustration of ‘Closing In’) about Seraphine Pick and secondarily about her work.  Now I am one of the people in the world that thinks there is too much art journalism and not enough critique. This has been voiced by at least three other people this week with far more standing than me, Andrew Paul Wood, Mark Amery and yesterday Max Gimblett in a quite marvellous interview on Saturdays with Kim Hill. It appears this is down to marketing and branding and the Listener article symbolises for me what is wrong with a fair amount of art writing.

So what is wrong? Well I am sick of hearing ‘about the artist’ and want to hear about the work. Yes there is a small amount of commentary, but it plays second fiddle to the artist. Also the timing of the article is simply weird. The show at the Mahara has finished and is now at the Sarjeant Gallery in Wanganui “in an abbreviated form” so you missed out if you wanted to see all of it. That may not be a bad thing though (see below).

And yes maybe this is the pot calling the kettle black because of my writing this blog, but I haven’t got the breadth and depth of expereince or knowledge to be able to critique in a constructive manner. If you want an uneducated opinion, I find Pick’s work uneven. Some startling pieces (as Rabbitt suggested ‘Surface Paradise’ is good) but at least in the ‘After Image’ exhibition it’s surrounded by stuff I didn’t like at all and wondered why it was on the walls as they seemed to be preparatory sketches or musings, ideas not fully formed. I take it that this is a new direction but I guess I just don’t ‘get it’.

On a more pleasant note the Max Gimblett interview mentioned above was a joy. I was going to write more about it but Jacky B at Passages  has done it so well. She writes “[I was] moved in many ways, even by the sound of his voice inflected by emotion, speaking truths, baring his soul. But most of all in the way he described his eschewing of audience, of working to something internal, perhaps a kind of inner muse.”  I have read some vitriolic criticism of Gimblett this week so was very pleasantly surprised. The interview audio should be on the Radio NZ website here for the next 6 weeks or so.

Ah ha you say  – the Gimblett interview is just more art journalism and that could be true, but I think it had a lot more to say about his art and art in general than the piece on Pick.

Page from Yoke (2001) A unique artist’s book

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