Ken Hall

Commentary
A Fireside Whodunnit

A Fireside Whodunnit

Father’s Tea entered the collection as an unexpected and welcome gift in 2020, together with a small portrait sketch and a larger interior scene by the same artist, both signed ‘EC’. Given by the granddaughter of artist Elizabeth Graham Chalmers (1870–1951), the paintings were old and well-travelled, needing the kind of care that galleries can provide. Father’s Tea also presented an intriguing puzzle around authorship, which has only recently been firmly re-established. As our research continued into 2021, local conservator Olivia Pitts undertook cleaning and repairs in preparation for its inclusion in the 2021–22 exhibition Leaving for Work. This included the removal of old varnish, infilling, and repainting areas of loss, and saw its strength vibrantly reinstated. Completing the restoration was the expert repair and re-gilding of the original ‘Watts profile’ frame by framing conservator Anne-Sophie Ninino.

Commentary
Ka Mua Ka Muri

Ka Mua Ka Muri

Our histories are always with us, but who is telling the story? The Gallery’s new collection hang, Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection offers up a range of different perspectives on how the past and future might intersect, and invites us to rethink how we commonly see our heritage. Here, the exhibition’s curators have each selected a work from the exhibition for a closer look.

Interview
Raising the Clay

Raising the Clay

One of the themes explored in the Gallery’s new exhibition Leaving for Work is local industry, particularly in relation to pottery. The show includes an 1896 painting by Charles Kidson of well-known early Sydenham potter Luke Adams; three late nineteenth-century pots by Adams; and projections of a number of exceptional photographs by Steffano Webb. Keen to learn more, exhibition curator Ken Hall met up with local pottery historian Barry Hancox – perhaps best-known as former Smith’s Bookshop proprietor – and leading New Zealand photographer, Oxford-based Mark Adams. Mark’s links to this story include a distant family connection to Luke Adams; photographing many celebrated New Zealand potters of the 1970s and 1980s; and an abiding interest in land and memory.

Exhibition

Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection

Making room for fresh voices, untold narratives and disruptive ideas.

Exhibition

Leaving for Work

Exploring the exceptional art of everyday working life.

Commentary
Painted Disciple

Painted Disciple

Curator Ken Hall takes time to closely investigate an intriguing recent acquisition.

Commentary
Safe Houses, Comfort Zones

Safe Houses, Comfort Zones

In an age of crisis and pandemic, our basic human need to remain safe has seen living spaces transformed into protection zones and shells to pull back into. So it is perhaps unsurprising to see pictures of domestic interiors charging up differently, re-emerging as sites of refuge, confinement and familiar disarray. Here curator Ken Hall looks at two works from the exhibition Persistent Encounters.

Exhibition

As Time Unfolds

From the ancient to the contemporary, an enduring motif is explored.

Commentary
Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania

Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania

Every few years, the curatorial team at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū embarks on a major rehang of the first-floor collection area. It’s no small undertaking finding fresh ways to combine long-held, well-known works and new acquisitions, looking for combinations that will offer compelling viewing, immersive storytelling and intellectual engagement to our wide and evolving visitor base. This time, director Blair Jackson added another dimension to our task, challenging us to reimagine the physical orientation of the spaces to encourage visitors to interact with the architecture in a completely different way.

Notes
Ko Enei Tauira Ataahua / These Beautiful Patterns

Ko Enei Tauira Ataahua / These Beautiful Patterns

From a present-day perspective, the appropriation of customary Māori art forms and practice by Pākehā artists can be disconcerting, a more-than-awkward crossing of cultural lines. 

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