Doris Lusk

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1916, d.1990

The Lee Valley, Nelson

  • 1954
  • Oil on canvas hardboard
  • William A Sutton bequest, 2000
  • 605 x 729mm
  • 2000/124
  • View on google maps

Charles Cotton’s 'Geomorphology of New Zealand' (published in 1922, with a revised edition released in 1942) transformed the way many New Zealanders thought about the landscape that surrounded them. Geomorphology is the study of the origins of earth’s topography and charts how the movements of massive forces beneath the earth’s crust have been expressed above ground in features such as mountains, valleys, glaciers and lakes. Colin McCahon received a copy of Cotton’s book as a wedding gift and spoke of the influence of its theories – and especially its simple line drawings – on his understanding of the landscape. He first encountered the book on the shelves of the Dunedin Public Library, and it is likely that Lusk, who shared her friend’s interest in the structure of the landscape – evident in this robust oil painting of the distinctive ‘pleated’ hills of Nelson’s Lee Valley – at least discussed it with him, or in fact read it herself.

(Doris Lusk: Practical Visionary, 4 June – 30 October 2016)

Exhibition History