Posts Tagged ‘Settlers Museum’

The Rules

Today I took my three kids to the Settlers Museum. Before we went in, I had them recite our gallery/museum rules.  These are:

  • No running
  • No yelling
  • No running off
  • and apparently No licking

One of the old doors to the Settlers Museum (excuse blurry shot)

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Firstly – what Deborah said. The school holidays are a little trying but on the other hand the mornings are relaxed without the rush getting three small kids sorted and out the door for school/kindy etc. My oldest also has the time to create her own (vaguely Picasso-like) masterpieces.

The holidays also make conducting ‘work’ and research tricky, actually just having kids around does. I retreated to my bedroom for some quiet for an important phone call this week and by the end of the conversation I had the 4 year old using my bed as a trampoline and my 2 year old asking for a nappy change. I try to maintain focus at these times and hope I don’t sound completely unprofessional but sometimes it’s difficult to discuss the arts in such circumstances.

Have have managed to fit in a little art viewing. Last week we all trooped down to the Settlers Museum because the kids love it and I wanted to see “Paint-box Pioneers” advertised as “For this exhibition we are cracking open our art store to showcase more than 70 favourite works from the museum’s fantastic art collection.” And it was quite wonderful. An old favourite of mine “Picnic at Woodhaugh” was there as well as many creepy portraits but some eye openers too. Having had Rita Angus on my mind a bit in the last 18 months, it was great to see Alfred Cook’s Lake Logan (1924) – a nice reproduction can be seen via this review.  I really liked the naive quality of many works, which seemed appropriate in context. But in my quest for grounding myself in my new-ish locale, my take-away favourite was Chingford Estate by John Barr Clarke Hoyle, not so much for its artistic merit but it is easily recognisable as North East Valley and Chingford Stables remain in situ even though the estate is now covered in suburban housing.

I also managed to get out to the “Russian Art In New Zealand” exhibition at the DPAG. This was rather wonderful and I was sort of excited to see Chagall and Kandinsky on a Sunday morning in Dunedin. What I really liked were some large works by Natalia Goncharova from the collection at Te Papa -rather stunning. Two things occurred to me: (1)Te Papa has amazing treasures that ‘don’t get out much’. Although there are no images online of the Goncharovas, I am so pleased that the collection continues to be digitised for ease of access; (2) I now clearly see the value of connections you can make between artworks, in time and geographically. I could see links here between the Russian works and many early/mid 20th Century NZ artists. Being me I was thinking “that looks like a cubist McCahon” or “that looks like an Angus” rather than the reverse :-)

The Russian Art in NZ show also included a large collection of ikons, which I really was taken by. Again as I haven’t travelled much, part the appeal was simply the age of the items. I also really liked the associated material explaining technique and stylistic differences, as well an explanation of the often intricate metal oklady made to protect the paintings (example of a painted icon with brass oklad covering here).

And to finish, I parked my car in Moray place right outside the Temple Gallery (sadly closed on Sundays) and managed to take a photo or two, but almost as good, I found this in an alley just beside it.

© P Dawson 2009

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