Posts Tagged ‘Joanna Margaret Paul’


A week or so back, I got to attend a showing of some of Joanna Margaret Paul’s short films at the opening of an exhibition at Brett McDowell Gallery.

The films were wonderful and two can be viewed on-line here. These I’d seen before but there were many others completely new to me. I particularly liked the lushness of ‘Roses’ and the isolating ordinariness of the everyday (Paul’s forte) e.g. ironing.

During the showing, it occurred to me how photography and particularly film, is just light, captured and store. Simple and yet amazing and illustrated when a car turned on the street outside and the headlights back-lit us through the gallery window, momentarily projecting our outlines onto the screen. In this instant we became part of the film, part of the light show.

I also thought about how impossibly delightful it would be to have a loop of ‘Napkins showing’ at my work. Recently we had some floor to ceiling windows were covered up by a blank wall and it would make a great screen….

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I have been working hard lately on an essay (and some PR) for an exhibition catalogue.

Joanna Margaret Paul – The Colour of Candour
5th – 25th Mar 2010
Brett McDowell Gallery, Dunedin

Following her untimely death in 2003, Joanna Margaret Paul left a legacy of thousands of items of art and poetry. The art collection, now housed in Dunedin is being catalogued and is represented by the Brett McDowell Gallery. The gallery’s annual Joanna Margaret Paul show focuses on watercolour drawings of a domestic nature, although several examples of her architectural works, landscapes and nature studies, hint at her range. Most of these works have not been previously exhibited.

 A hardcover limited edition, numbered, near fine press catalogue has been published in association with the exhibition by Kilmog Press and was launched at the opening. The catalogue features selected images from the exhibition and an essay by Pauline Dawson (that’s me!).

Here is an image of the catalogue cover (I’ll be updating with a different image soon). I talked a bit in the essay about Paul’s use of white space (white also being the colour of candour) and Kilmog echoed that in their design. As usual the book is a lovely object in itself.


When writing these catalogues essays I’ve found I develop quite an affection for the artist and their work. I am no academic art historian and tend to take a slightly psycho/social take on art. So, apart from signing my first ever book on Friday night (a very exciting moment), I took the comment ‘oh you must have known Joanna’  from someone who had read the essay, as quite a compliment.

The catalogue is available for purchase from Brett McDowell Gallery, Parsons Books, Auckland, Kilmog Press or myself directly.

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I am super busy (and a little obsessed) with a project just now. I may reveal details later if all goes to plan. Any how I spied this ‘Self Portrait/Still Life” by Joanna Margaret Paul recently and well, it felt like it was my portrait. The mundane nature of most of my life.

Self Portrait/Still Life (1999) Joanna Margaret Paul
pencil, pastel
image from Brett McDowell Gallery website

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