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Posts Tagged ‘ward’

Ghosts in the machine

I have had an eventful Sunday. I started off feeling rather glum and not just about the election (although I am a bit scared as to what will happen now). However it was a beautiful day and I’d arranged to visit the studio of David Cauchi.

Now, I don’t hang about with artists much but I am always a bit in awe of their energy and knowledge. I have liked what I’ve seen of David’s work online and it was great to view it in person. I was impressed with how it has progressed over time too. His initial sketch book was incredible and I was particularly drawn to his portrait series. I am inspired to search out Picabia’s work and look forward to seeing more of David’s. A pity he has no dealer in Wellington (although maybe that’s part of plan?). Also, time spent drinking tea and talking art is good for the soul – and you have to admire someone who plays music from their laptop via a valve amp (well I do, being a valve freak)!

Part two of my day was seeing “Rain of the Children” at the Paramount. I was the only one in the theatre which was special considering it’s the first time I’ve been to the movies in 6 years. This is a very moving film and I’d highly recommend any one see it. Vincent Ward seemed clumsy and pushy at times but you could tell he was working from his heart. I guess in the back of my mind was the question as to why a pakeha was telling this story – but then maybe only an ‘outsider’ could?

tekooti
Te Kooti’s War Flag

So after that I wandered over to Te Papa because I recalled some time ago they had Te Kooti’s flag on display and I thought maybe there would be something there from Rua Kenana, but no.

Finally I have to confess to something I’ve never done before. At Te Papa , I cried in front of a painting. I won’t say which one though because I am that predicable. I think I’ll just put it down to hormones though.

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Ebb and flow

Some weekends I feel that I achieve nothing. And although I managed a trip through the cultural mecca of Levin yesterday, this weekend was pretty empty. In contrast, next weekend appears to be bulging at the seams already. Election day, Kapiti Arts trail, an invite to an artist’s studio in Wellington on Sunday and if I can work it, Rain of the Children at the Embassy on the same day.

The prospect of an afternoon in Wellington (without the kids) is so exciting that it also makes me realise how much I will miss some of my regular ports of call. For example, there is a lot you can criticise about Te Papa (and I have) but just to be able to wander in and visit my old friends is magic. I know that the Dunedin Art Gallery is good but what will it bring? I did see my first Clairmont there (at the old site*). The promotional brochure and DVD about Dunedin we were sent by my partner’s future employers has a picture of a couple walking past “A Waterfall in the Otira Gorge” by Petrus van der Velden – you’d think it would show something more contemporary. It is a nice painting though.


A Waterfall in the Otira Gorge (1891) by Petrus Van der Velden

It also means I will stick to my usual plan of only visiting a few places in the local Arts trail. Some time ago Janet Bailey said something to me about not compromising any critical integrity this blog may have by randomly promoting local events and places. I have tried to stick to this and only mention things I would actually go to myself. So this is an opportunity to see a few artists and their work again before I leave – Chris White at Colbolt and Caroline Beaufort for example (I love Caroline’s woodblock prints).

So I am hoping for a fine weekend and if anyone wants to join me for a coffee in Wellington next Sunday…I’ll check my dance card.

* I cannot for the life of me, recall where the old gallery was. It was in a park – Logan Park maybe?

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Gothic NZ

My dear friend Helen came around today to help me separate emotion from inanimate objects. It was very ‘cleansing’ and we managed to get rid of heaps of stuff*. However at one point, looking out my front window onto the 1970s beige neighbourhood, she said something like “you really are deep in suburbia here…”

I have just re-read Janet Frames “The Carpathians” and have decided it captures suburban gothic very well. This is also funny because of Helen’s recent birthday trip to Levin where the book is unmistakeably set. Frame’s snapshot of Kowhai Street is so real that the unusual events don’t seem so unusual, and knowing Levin well myself, quite believable.

So it was serendipitous that the book Gothic NZ arrived from the library today. A great essay by Mischa Kavka “Out of the Kitchen Sink”  completely encapsulated the feeling of darkness hidden behind closed doors. The book as a whole is pretty good but certain parts really capture the curious suburban gothic that I keep running into and also how gothic tendrils extend out into the countryside. There were also various examples of NZ art with a similar tone including Yvonne Todd’s photos, working “a fine tension between the conventional and the creepy“. Maybe I am reading it wrong, but I’d put a great deal of Ronnie van Hout’s work in this category as well.

Of course our film-makers do a good line in gothic too. A funny moment this morning was when going through my old my tramping gear, Helen and I both exclaimed “Vigil!” as I pulled out a large green woolen balaclava.


Still from Vincent Ward’s film “Vigil

*However it has left me very tired and probably not making a lot of sense

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