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Tauranga Art

Art Scene  
 It doesn’t take much effort to connect with experimental art in Tauranga…just hike on up to Laundromat Art Project Space in Second Ave. Emerging artist Timothy Chapman’s exhibition, Boys Will be Boys, is a great opportunity to size up the launderette, that’s devoted to contemporary (and experimental)  art.  Timothy Chapman poses some interesting questions. Timothy asks,  ‘do boys, and males in general, have a biologically, instinctive pre-disposition towards fighting and weapons, or do cultural and media ideologies of masculinity shape these gender ideologies…? ’ Timothy explores this using mixed media including video, ceramic, large format prints and needlework.  Boys is on until March 16. Laundromat is at 92 Second Ave, tel 571 1117  www.laps.net.nz
At Tauranga Art Gallery, Mountain to the Sea is a celebration of the inspiration the New Zealand landscape provides for ceramic artist, Len Castle. The exhibition features about 60 works from the Volcanic and Sea Secrets series that Castle has been developing since the 1990s. Alongside the works are photographic images of the landscapes, and poetry by ten leading New Zealand poets. Castle has been photographing extreme and unpredictable elements of the New Zealand landscape since the 1960s, images which sit naturally alongside his ceramic works. He’s produced a wide range of works in clay and glaze materials – from elegant blue lake bowls, through to gritty lava tubes and fossil-like forms. The poems included in the exhibition allow the viewer a new take on Castle’s work and the inspiration behind them.

Navigating Her Way is by Doreen McNeill, who as a young woman was a technical draughtsperson, drawing navigational charts for aircraft. The work was meticulous and intricate. Five decades later, McNeill has revisited the navigational charts she made, bringing them back into her work. Her childhood love of art was taken up during the 1960s while living in the Bahamas. McNeill created many beachscapes inspired by the rich Caribbean Sea colours, but it was the emotions that places evoked which inspired her.  From the outset, McNeill has painted in an abstract manner. On migrating to New Zealand in 1987, she joined the Waikato Society of Arts in Hamilton. This provided her the opportunity to work alongside other artists and learn techniques that inspired her to bring design and structure to her work, while retaining her strong, vibrant sense of colour. In her 80th year, McNeill continues to paint with passion and gusto.

EY! IRAN contemporary Iranian photography is a collection of contemporary photographic works by 18 media artists, most still living and working in Iran. The exhibition is about Iran today, portraying ‘the social realities, temptations and introspections of the Persian people.’  The images depict a culture surprisingly familiar to ours – narratives of family life, suburban sprawl and of a country immersed in long-standing customs and traditions. The artists take on issues of identity, gender and social restrictions, and capture a side of Iran which is often contrary to the one presented by Western media. Most of the artists have travelled and exhibited internationally, and their images don’t necessarily cater to popular expectations, but tend towards the non-conformist and challenging. Tauranga Art Gallery is found at 108 Willow Street, tel 578 7933, www.artgallery.org.nz


The Art Scene…

THE CAPTAIN – Exploring Images of James Cook

Tauranga Art Gallery has developed an exhibition titled The Captain to commemorate the 240th anniversary of his arrival and to celebrate and explore the way in which we as a nation have memorialised, and continue to remember, James Cook.

The exhibition draws on historical and contemporary art plus images of Cook in educational resources, stamps, coins and kiwiana. Statues and early paintings of Cook position him as the ‘hero explorer in the Age of Enlightenment’. More recent depictions in a variety of media, explore Cook the man, and some of the difficulties encountered in his journeys to the Southern Hemisphere.

Cook is remembered through parts of the landscape he named (including ‘Bay of Plenty’), statues and memorials in New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific and Britain. The Captain is on until the end of January 2010.

Meanwhile, the Art Gallery has a very different sort of ship in residence – in the installation by Tracey Williams’ – My Ship Tënei Wakahëra.

The gallery says artist Tracey Williams didn’t appreciate the diversity and richness of Tauranga Moana’s history as a child growing up in the area, until she undertook research for her installation on show in the Gallery’s Atrium.

In the multi-media exhibition, Williams explores the idea that cultural artefacts are often associated with fixed identities and meanings, but can be used in a manner that challenges our preconceptions.

‘Williams has constructed a custom built ship as centrepiece for the installation, along with images of galaxies as seen through portholes or telescopes. The ship acts as a symbol for Tauranga’s harbour – as one of the first settlements of both Maori and European, as a link to trade, access to landfall and retreat during times of war, and as a port. It also represents the proximity of the Gallery to the sea.’

Drop into Tauranga’s new spot for contemporary art, the Laundromat Art Project Space in 2nd Ave, to catch one of their fast-changing exhibitions. The emphasis is on the experimental and different, and a place where emerging artists can get their work shown. There’s already around half a dozen artists, including painters, a sculptor and a screen printer, who’ve taken up residence in the artist studios on site. The Laundromat at 92 Second Ave is open 11 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, and 11 am to 1 pm Saturday.

Art Fest Preview with Pictures…
The 2009 Tauranga Arts Festival will bring ‘light into the economic gloom.’ ‘It’s a time to get out there and enjoy yourself, let your hair down, have a bit of fun and see fantastic things,’  says the festival’s veteran director Phillip Tramway.

We at BoTCom are all for fun and the letting down of hair, so here’s a preview of what’s on the programme – complete with a smattering of photos – to help you pick what to attend. The festival runs from October 22 to November 1, offering, as always, rich variety: 

Opening a week prior to the Festival is the stunning World Press Photo exhibition featuring the best press photos of the year. This travelling exhibition is seen by more than two million people in some 45 countries worldwide. “We had the 2007 version for the last festival and again we expect visitors to be intrigued, moved, delighted and sometimes stunned by these images,” Philip says.

Local Bay of Plenty people feature in another photographic exhibition, People of the Bay. This special double project includes an exhibition by eight leading local photographers and an interactive exhibition – Festival photographer Nikki South will be on the Strand every day during the Festival taking photos which will be added to the shots flowing through on a giant screen.

The TVNZ Crystal Palace returns to Tauranga for the Festival – with a full programme of music and entertainment. Belgian chanteuse Micheline Van Hautem opens the music programme with her smouldering versions of fellow countryman Jacques Brel’s songs in two shows ‘Brel’ and ‘Chocolat’, which also features her own songs.

Other international acts in the TVNZ Crystal Palace include international singing sensation and performance artist Meow Meow; Australian music comedy act The Kransky Sisters and high-energy Brazilian group Tambolele

New Zealand acts also feature with Jess Chambers and The Firefly Orchestra and the return of the ever-popular Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra (already sold out – Ed),   plus there’s a programme of lunchtime and early afternoon music with Paul McLaney, Anna Coddington, The Mellow Drops, Rosy Tin Teacaddy, Tim O’Brien: Two Oceans Trio and Trevor Braunias Trio.

Also featured in the extensive music programme is leading Wellington six-piece The Phoenix Foundation, known for ‘fluid and experimental pop rock.’ The band will perform one night only at Baycourt Theatre on Saturday 31 October.
Classical music lovers have two highlights in the programme – Faure’s Requiem performed by the country’s top choir, Voices New Zealand with Opus Orchestra; and Piano Duets with New Zealand’s most acclaimed pianists Michael Houstoun and Diedre Irons.

Five New Zealand productions make up the theatre programme for Tauranga Arts Festival 2009. The new New Zealand play Le Sud, from the pen of Dave Armstrong, is a rollicking political satire which warmly pokes fun at three cultures, two islands and one country; while Hotel is theatre at its most intimate, inside hotel room 329; Ship Songs weaves together sea shanties, epic adventures and intimate love stories; and The Butler melds a circus spectacular with intimate comic theatre into a jaw-dropping performance which is sexy, visually stunning and bitingly satirical.

The fifth theatre piece is especially for young festivalgoers – Tale of A Dog from Capital E National Theatre for Children is a delightful circus-inspired show best suited for children aged two to six years, their parents and grandparents. 

Leading New Zealand choreographers Malia Johnston and Michael Parmenter, together with dancer turned choreographer Sarah Foster, have created new works inspired by their experiences of growing up in New Zealand and by remarkable New Zealanders. Footnote, a showcase of dance, directed by Diedre Tarrant of Footnote Dance, has a one night only show in the Festival.

The dance programme also includes Flicker, a piece inspired by images, thoughts and half-remembered stories and choreographed by Ann Dewey and dancers; and the Imperial Russian Ballet Company returns with the gorgeous Swan Lake.
Australian musician and inventor Linsey Pollak returns to Tauranga Arts Festival with his new show Passing Wind, and with the fascinating Extinction Room for which the audience dons headphones and blindfolds, and enters a room where they hear the sounds of endangered and extinct species.

And everyone can experience the fun of the Festival when The Strand and central Tauranga come alive with street performers on Saturday 24 October.

An ancient olive tree, sampling local food and wine in Italy and France, the economic crisis, marriage and art, pleasure gardens and poetry are just a few of the topics featuring in the Festival’s Writers and Readers Programme which runs from 29 October to 1 November at the TVNZ Crystal Palace.

British actress turned novelist Carol Drinkwater, author of The Olive Route and The Olive Tree, features alongside New Zealanders writer Nicky Pellegrino; columnist Joe Bennett (returning by popular demand); Montana Book Award Fiction winner Emily Perkins, whose artist husband Karl Maughan will join her to talk about their lives as artists and as a family with their three children; NZ Gardener editor Lynda Hallinan, and acclaimed poets Bill Manhire and Glenn Colquhoun.

For more information on the programme, visit www.taurangafestival.co.nz. Tickets for the Tauranga Arts Festival 2009 are now on sale through TicketDirect  – by phoning 0800 4TICKET (484 2538) or online at www.ticketdirect.co.nz

Beer & Food Gone Wild
Where’s your sense of adventure? That’s what Monteith’s is asking in its 12th annual Beer & Wild Food Challenge. The challenge is to create a culinary sensation using a range of locally sourced wild foods.  ‘Wild food’ is defined as anything that is not usually raised on a farm. 

This year, chefs have been asked to find fresh local ingredients ideally sourced within a 100 kilometre radius of their kitchen. And, for the first time, chefs will be judged by the public. Text votes will determine the highest scoring dishes that will then be judged by Convenor of Judging Kerry Tyack and a special guest at a live “cook-off” in August. There will be six national finalists taking part in the live event. These six will be announced by Kerry on 31st July.

Kerry says he hopes people get involved and vote. “For 12 years I have been judging this competition and I have seen vast improvement over that period. I’m confident that this year’s dishes will give diners such a unique and enjoyable experience that they will eagerly take the next step after the meal and show their appreciation by submitting their vote,” he says.
As an incentive, every text vote returns two complimentary Monteith’s beers to the voter.

Just under a dozen cafes and eateries in the Western Bay are taking part:
Astrolabe, 82 Maunganui Road, Mt Maunganui
Bravo, Red Square, Tauranga
Cornerstone Pub, 55 The Strand, Tauranga
Coyote Street Bar and Restaurant, 107 The Strand, Tauranga
Greer’s, 1334 Cameron Road, Greerton, Tauranga
Hot on the Rocks, 47a The Strand, Tauranga
Imbibe Bar and Restaurant, 19 Given Road, Bayfair, Mt Maunganui
Latitude 37, 181 Maunganui Road, Mt Maunganui
Mount Bistro, 6 Adams Avenue, Mt Maunganui
Tauranga Citizens Club, 170 Thirteenth Avenue, Tauranga
The Porch Kitchen and Bar, 23 Wilson Street, Waihi Beach
Information about entrants and a running tally of votes can be found at www.monteiths.co.nz

Art Scene
On show at the Tauranga Art Gallery, Recent is an exhibition with some striking shots by ten contemporary photographers, or ‘artist photographers.’  The exhibition demonstrates the diversity of New Zealand photography – from Fiona Amundsen’s images of Seoul, South Korea, to Hamish Tocher’s use of Renaissance portraits.

As the title suggests, the works have all been created since 2002, although some of the photographers employ techniques dating back to the 19th century. Laurence Aberhart, for example, uses platinum gelatin silver prints and (at times) lengthy film exposures. Joyce Campbell uses ambrotypes for her LA Botanical series; negative images on glass plates that when shown against a black backdrop, appear to be positive.

Ben Cauchi utilises ‘wet plate’ photography, a technique perfected in the 1850s where the photographic plates are treated, exposed and developed within 15 minutes before the plates dry, creating mysterious and illusory images that are Gothic in appearance.

Hamish Tocher brings historical and contemporary images together by pairing up looks and poses from Renaissance portraits with those from contemporary magazine advertising, placing the images side by side, and in doing so, closing the gap between 15th century painting and modern day New Zealand.

Recent also features work by Wayne Barrar, Derek Henderson, Paul Johns, Fiona Pardington and Richard Orjis.

With the advent of digital photography, artist-photographers have sought to push the boundaries further both technically and visually, in order for their images to be ‘seen’. The result is exciting, diverse and far removed from the snapshot of yesteryear.
Recent is on until Sunday 26 July. Visit the website www.artgallery.org.nz or phone 578 7933 for more information. Photos courtesy Tauranga Art Gallery

Creative Tauranga
After a visit to Tauranga Art Gallery, cross the road to Creative Tauranga for a look at what’s on in their gallery. Details of their coming exhibitions weren’t available at press time, but visit their website www.creativetauranga.org.nz for information on what’s afoot. CT is the former Tauranga Community Arts Council, contracted by councils to support the arts and culture sector.

The Brown Years…
Enter the Tauranga Art Gallery’s atrium, and you’ll encounter a painting that’s almost breathtaking in its scale and detail – Nigel Brown telling a bold, colourful story of growing up in Tauranga.  

The Brown Years is one of those ‘don’t miss’ exhibitions on at the Gallery, based on 44 works the leading New Zealand artist gifted to the gallery, putting the seal on his strong support for the project in its early stages.

Nigel Brown was born in Invercargill, but spent his youth in Tauranga, the son of local market gardeners.  He attended Otumoetai Primary School, Pillan’s Point, and then went to Tauranga Boys’ College. During the 70’s, he worked as a postie in Tauranga – and painted by night.

 Now in his 60’s, he lives in Southland, but maintains close ties to Tauranga. The painter has been described as one of the country’s most important figurative artists, and one of the country’s leading ‘narrative artists.’

Tauranga Art Gallery Curator Penny Jackson has far more than a passing knowledge of Nigel Brown and his work, as author of an illustrated book produced for the Brown Years exhibition. Grant Dyson asked her about the artist. 

Nigel Brown was Tauranga born and bred was he?
He wasn’t born here, he was born in Invercargill,  but he came here as a small child and he certainly spent the whole of his childhood and his youth here, and only left to go to art school, when he went to Elam in Auckland in 1970; he would have been 18 years of age at that stage.

He’s described as a New Zealand’s leading narrative artist – what’s that about, story- telling?
He is a story teller… I would describe him more as a figurative painter as such.  He does tell stories and the major work in this exhibition at the Tauranga art Gallery is called the Tauranga Quartet, and it fills a large wall 7and a half by ten metres, in four huge panels. And it is a story; it’s a narrative, and full of figures from his past. It’s a map basically of Tauranga, and over it he has overlaid lots and lots of words because text is one of his things, but also all the people from his past. So there’s his brothers his mother in her wheelchair, his dad with his bow and arrow; his dad cutting fruit because his dad was market gardener; the children in the boat – so yes, all those kinds of things. So he is a story teller – a visual story teller – is how I’d describe him.

This has been described as a real Tauranga story – and you’ve gone some way to explaining that…
Absolutely. There are two parts to the exhibition; the part that I’ve just described, the large atrium painting which he has worked on. It’s very recent; I mean he only finished it a few months ago, 2009. And if course part of that, is you’ve got a 60 year old guy who’s looking back on his childhood so you know, he’s remembering…it’s all about memory, living here in the 60’s and 70’s, but the other part of the exhibition traces his history. I suppose it’s like a mini-retrospective but all with that Tauranga theme. So the first works, the early works, he actually made as a young school boy, right through…and then there are works from the mid 1970’s. He actually came back here in 1975 and was a postie by day and painted by night. He was young husband and father so he had to earn money, so he delivered post. There are works from that period and then there are works…he kept on coming back to visit his parents who still lived here, so there are works from the 80’s, and then some from the 90’s. So it’s all very much about memory and you see him getting older and his parents getting older. I mean one of the last works is actually about his mum who said, ‘look, When I’m dead just bury me – just dig a hole in the ground and put me in.’ and there are words all over these works that tell you the story – you can read it and you can look as well.

He lives in the South Island now?
Yes, right down in Riverton in Southland, the deep south, so what’s interesting is you’ve got someone who’s been here and he’s done these huge paintings, and made lots of images of here, but from a distance. So Tauranga is very much in his roots…in his painting blood really.

He’s donated a number of works to the gallery, hasn’t he?
Yes he has, in 2007 he actually gave the gallery 44 works. A lot of those are in the exhibition and they pertain again to Tauranga. He was a very, very strong believer in a public art gallery here. And when they put out for submissions in 2005, he wrote a really impassioned submission and I’ve actually got a copy here. He wrote it in big fat black felt pen: ‘Tauranga needs a public art gallery. And if it happens I will give you the first part of the collection.’ And true to his word he did – 44 pieces.

And so you would bring some of them out on a regular basis?
Oh yes, absolutely. Obviously they are part of the gallery’s collection, and in a few years they might be part of ‘the history of landscape painting’ or ‘the figure’….they might be part of a group show. They are there and certainly they will be called upon many times. They’re a great asset to have.

To come back full circle, as a painter he’s quite an important figure for New Zealand and indeed for Tauranga?
Absolutely he’s a well-loved New Zealand artist and it’s great that he comes back here. He’s still very passionate about the area. He realised that growing up as a boy…he says he didn’t realise that New Zealand art existed till he left here and he went to Auckland. And that’s why he’s so passionate about art galleries. Younger people need to know what’s going on. And, you know he’s a great philanthropist. He’s a great giver – that’s the bottom line.

Want to know more about Nigel Brown?  Penny Jackson’s 66 page book The Brown Years, a catalogue for the exhibition, is a well written, very readable history, with superb full colour pictures of some of his finest works. At $35 from the Gallery, it’s a great buy for anyone with even a passing interest in Tauranga’s history, and a leading artist’s look back at his years here.    

Tauranga Art Gallery is on the corner of Wharf and Willow Streets and open daily 10 am – 4.30 pm. Visit the website www.artgallery.org.nz or phone 07 578 7933 for further information.

Boom Time at Tauranga Art Gallery…
Artist Dick Frizzel’s works have been described as ‘expressionist pop’ using kitsch Kiwiana like the ‘Four Square Man.’  He’s just one of the 28 artists featured in Boom Time, an exhibition of works drawn from the BNZ art collection that has just a few more weeks to run until May 24.  The BNZ collection itself comprises over 400 works by both emerging and established New Zealand artists from the 1960s to the ‘80s – considered the era in which New Zealand art ‘came of age’.

The 1980s in particular, were a boom time for art in New Zealand fuelled by the idealism of the Lange government, and it was during this time the collection was accumulated with the aim of recording the bank’s heritage, which dates back to the birth of the colony. The stock market crash in 1987 heralded an end to the art market boom, and no further works have been acquired since.
The gallery’s design meanwhile, has won a national award and is in the running for a New Zealand Architecture Medal to be announced later this month.  The Art Gallery was a winner in the Public Architecture category of the Institute of Architects Resene 2009 Awards.

Judges say the gallery was transformed from the former Bank of New Zealand building into a ‘fabulous art space’ by architects Mitchell and Stout, retaining many of its original features such as the outer white tiles, internal pillars and bank vault.

‘Assemblage Art’ …at Tauranga Art Gallery
Sacks, tools, boots, dresses and a duck in a bucket….visitors to Tauranga Art Gallery’s latest exhibition, Banners by Don Driver, may undergo a range of reactions to this collection of wall hangings and sculptures. The works made from used and ‘found’ materials that appear, at first glance, to be attached randomly to pieces of canvas, vinyl or even animal skins, demand a closer look. As the artist himself states, ‘if your work speaks for itself get out of the way’.

New Plymouth-based abstract artist Don Driver is a Kiwi pioneer in the use of assemblage. It’s a process where three-dimensional ‘found’ or readymade objects (objects made from non-traditional materials) are combined to create artistic compositions. Driver works with things that are seen everyday – such as discarded clothing, garden tools, sacks, fluffy dusters and plastic containers – and exaggerates them by association with other objects or the use of materials, texture and colour.

His use of coloured strips of leather, suede, canvas and vinyl that are creased, puckered, overlapped and stitched, and then overlaid with objects, add a rich textural depth to both the banner and its underlying layers of imagery and meaning. Driver’s fascination for the mystical and magical turns the ordinary into the extraordinary and in some cases, other worldly. The containers such as sacks or plastic drums can be interpreted as soul-bearing bodies, as can the use of skins and articles of clothing; tools become extensions of the body.

His use of tools such as pitchforks, hooks, saws and scythes in one sense, is a celebration of the land and rural New Zealand, yet when associated with the use of cow skins and old clothes, triggers other associations such as our use of animals for clothing.

Although many of these works may appear to be random constructions at first glance, Driver’s humour and sense of irony is just below the surface. And through his use of visual metaphor in both the wall hangings and sculptures, he asks us to take a second look at what we consider the everyday things inlife.

The works of Don Driver have been the subject of debate for over thirty years. But debate is good, and this type of work encourages discussion. So, take a second look…

Banners is on at the Gallery until 10 May. Tauranga Art Gallery is on the corner of Wharf and Willow Streets and is open daily from 10am to 4.30pm. Admission is by donation.

Further information:
Kathy Reid
Tauranga Art Gallery
DD: 579 0620
Cell: 027 2479 5702