Sam Harrison: Render
31 Mar 2012 – 22 Apr 2012
Listen to Felicity Milburn talk about local artist Sam Harrison's exhibition Render. Harrison's plaster and chicken wire works draw on his experiences as a hunter – the process of their construction echoing in reverse the transformation of animals from living things into inanimate carcasses. Exquisitely observed and acutely 'present', they make for confronting and compelling viewing.
Render is the first installment of the Rolling Maul project series by local artists at our new favourite venue, the spruced-up gallery space above NG at 212 Madras Street.
Related reading: Beasts, Outer Spaces
26 August 2012
Katharina Jaeger, Chris Pole, Tim J. Veling and Charlotte Watson start with structure and consider what is possible when the normal rules no longer apply.
Laurence Aberhart's 1983 photograph of Lyttelton children is displayed on our Gloucester Street billboard.
When we asked Tony de Lautour to produce a new work for the Bunker—the name Gallery staff give to the small, square elevator building at the front of the forecourt on Montreal Street—he proposed a paint scheme inspired by Dazzle camouflage. Associated with the geometric near-abstraction of the vorticist movement, Dazzle was developed by British and American artists during the First World War to disguise shipping. It was a monumental form of camouflage that aimed not to hide the ship but to break up its mass visually and confuse enemies about its speed and direction. In a time before radar and sonar were developed, Dazzle was designed to disorientate German U-boat commanders looking through their periscopes, and protect the merchant fleets.
Senior curator Lara Strongman spoke with Tony de Lautour in late January 2016.
A generous, multimedia selection of animal-themed works, both lively and thoughtful.
Sparks that fly upwards
Curator Felicity Milburn remembers five years and 101 installations in a gallery without walls.
Peter Stichbury's NDE
Anna Worthington chooses her favourite work from the Gallery collection.
Martin Creed's completely unequivocal, but also pretty darn ambiguous, work for Christchurch.
A seal breaks through the ice and begins oxygenating; slowly opening and closing her eyes as she fills her lungs with air. Weddell seals live and breed on the ice shelves around Antarctica, further south than any other mammal on the planet. They move between holes in the ice to hunt, and have been recorded holding their breath for up to ninety-six minutes. Connie Samaras made this video while on a residency in Antarctica. Like many of her works, it invites us to consider the two-way dependency of our relationship with the environment, the fragility of the body and our tenuous grip on survival.
(Te Wheke, 2020)
The images shown here are stills taken from the video.
Tuatara means ‘spiny back’ in Māori. This unusual creature is found only in Aotearoa New Zealand. There are two species of tuatara, the last surviving members of an order of reptiles that existed alongside the dinosaurs 220 million years ago. That isn’t the only unique thing about the tuatara: they have a light-sensitive ‘third eye’ beneath the scales on the top of their head; its purpose is still not completely understood by scientists.
I'm pretty sure the kids at my daughters pre-school haven't seen Cai Guo-Qiang's Heritage, which was commissioned for his show Falling Back To Earth at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane last year.
Christchurch's favourite bull can now be found at PlaceMakers Riccarton. That may sound a bit unusual, but these are strange times.
Cathedral Square, Centennial Pool, Lancaster Park, schoolboys, punks, nuns – a photographic journey through 1980s Christchurch.
Last chance to view the Holloway Press exhibition at Central Library Peterborough this week so if you are in the neighbourhood and like beautifully printed, designed and hand-crafted books then make sure you head along.
The consideration of Japanese whale-hunting activity and ensuing protest in nearby southern waters has led to a reflection on our local whaling past, highlighting changing and divergent attitudes to animal life.
An exhibition of beautifully crafted, designed and hand-printed books from New Zealand's most renowned private press, The Pear Tree Press.
A selection of typographic designs, including books, posters and ephemera, by renowned Christchurch graphic designer Max Hailstone (1942–1997).
Combining vividly imagined photographs with sculptural elements, Christchurch-based collaborative duo Edwards+Johann present an enigmatic and playful installation laced with tension and possibility.
Christchurch audiences at last have the opportunity to experience the complexity and ambition of Cotton's latest work in this two-venue exhibition by one of the biggest names in New Zealand art.
Hectic city scenes transformed into contemplative meditations of extraordinary beauty.
The idea of peppering the vestigial city centre with portraits from the collection became part of the Gallery's tenth birthday POPULATE! programme, intended to remind all of us that the collection is, indeed, still here and in good shape.
This article first appeared as 'Cleverly caught' in The Press on 14 February 2014.
A family-focused exhibition powered by the excitement of seeing ordinary things transformed in unexpected ways.
It's where we live: the encrusted surface of a molten planet, rotating on its own axis, circling round the star that gives our daylight. Geographically, it's a mapped-out city at the edge of a plain, bordered by sea and rising, broken geological features. Zooming in further, it's a neighbourhood, a street, a shelter – all things existing at first as outlines, drawings, plans. And it's a body: portable abode of mind, spirit, psyche (however we choose to view these things); the breathing physical location of unique identity and passage.
Six artists use line to investigate space and structure in unexpected ways.
A selection of lavishly illustrated books from the Victorian era relating to New Zealand landscape, Māori culture, colonial enterprise and our unique flora, fauna and birdlife.
It's 107 years since this multi-talented artist, described by art historian Kenneth Clark as 'outstandingly good', was born in Norwich, England.
The endless newscape: Barry Cleavin’s inkjet prints
Barry Cleavin is often, rightfully, referred to as a 'master printer' – a maestro of intaglio printing techniques including the complex tonal subtleties of aquatint, soft- and hard-ground etching and the creation of 'linear tension'. Mastering these complex techniques to achieve a command over the etching processes has required patience and fortitude over a career spanning some forty-seven years.
Yvonne Todd: The Wall of Man
A succinct ad placed in the classifieds of the North Shore Times in March 2009 attracted some forty applicants. Respondents were shown a photographic portrait of an unnamed executive, and directed towards ervon.com – artist Yvonne Todd's website – to decide whether or not they wanted to be photographed. Some still did. The unfolding story might not have been exactly what they'd expected, but all who agreed understood it would be something different. Next came the eliminations: sixteen men were chosen to be photographed; twelve made it to the final cut. The resulting images were printed at varying sizes and titled: International Sales Director, Retired Urologist, Family Doctor, Senior Executive, Hospital Director, Company Founder, Sales Executive, Chief Financial Officer, Image Consultant, Independent Manufacturing Director, Publisher, Agrichemical Spokesman. This is The Wall of Man.
An interactive installation that reveals the astonishing sounds people can make using their bodies – from lip plopping to bone clicking.
Real or illusory? Virtual or physical? Sculptor Glen Hayward teases out these questions in this mind-bending new sculpture, a hand-carved and painted recreation of the famous office cubicle from The Matrix.
A selection of hand-printed books from Wellington's Fernbank Studio.
Boyd Webb contributes a new work to the Gallery's Sterescope programme.
Credited with freeing video art from the 'tyranny of the monitor', Tony Oursler is regarded as one of the world's most influential artists in that medium.
Credited with freeing video art from the 'tyranny of the monitor', Tony Oursler is regarded as one of the world's most influential artists in that medium.
I stumbled into their lair on accident, and found myself in a madhouse of reptilian decree. I immediately froze, in a vain hope they had not noticed me in my peculiarity, but my attempts were feeble, I had been seen. I felt a cold sweat and a shiver ran down my spine as they glared at me with beady black eyes from a nebulous of smoke and dust that choked the room. I was their intruder. One of the lizards mockingly hissed a welcome, 'Please take a seat, you look weary.'
For a large, intensive photographic project that he called The Vault, Neil Pardington used his camera to see what discoveries could be made in the hidden storage spaces of museums and art galleries throughout New Zealand.
This assemblage of taxidermied beasts was found in a storeroom at Canterbury Museum, kept in safekeeping while unneeded for display. All facing the same direction, it’s almost as if they’re waiting for their moment to escape.
The Dutch painter Petrus van der Velden arrived in Christchurch in 1890 for what was intended to be a short visit to New Zealand. Staying longer than he had planned, he made an impact on the local scene as a ‘real artist’ from old Europe in their midst.
This painting was shown by a Christchurch art dealer in 1893, and described by a reporter:
The picture is entitled ‘The Mouse-trap’, and represents a boy holding the trap with a mouse in it which he has just caught. The face of the boy is beautifully painted, the expression of pleasure being very cleverly caught.
Treasured portraits populate empty spaces in our changing city.
Christchurch Art Gallery is ten: highs and lows
In recognition of the anniversary of the move of Christchurch's public art gallery from its former existence as the Robert McDougall in the Botanic Gardens to its new more central city location (now eerily empty), I've been asked by Bulletin's editor to recall some highs and lows of the last ten years. So here goes — and stay with me during this reflection, which takes the place of my usual foreword.
Fall tension tension wonder bright burn want
Curator Felicity Milburn on Tony Oursler and the grotesque.
Gregor Kregar: Reflective Lullaby
Justin Paton: As everyone who has seen your works at Christchurch Airport will know, you often make big sculptures with a geometric quality. Gnomes, however large, aren't the first things viewers might expect you to be interested in. What's the appeal of these figures for you?
Gregor Kregar: I'm interested reinterpreting mundane objects, shapes, situations or materials. In my large geometric works I do this by creating complex structures out of basic shapes—triangles, squares, pentagons and hexagons. And with the gnomes I am interested in how something that is usually made out of plastic or concrete and is associated with a low, kitsch aesthetic can be transformed into an arresting monumental sculpture.
It’s our party and we’ll cry if we want to
On 10 May 2013, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū turns ten. Which is fantastic. But it's probably fair to say that there's a bittersweet quality to the celebrations around this particular anniversary, as it also marks two years and eleven weeks of closure for the Gallery, and catches us staring down the barrel of another two years without our home.
It's frustrating. And then some.
However, we're not going to let these little, ahem, inconveniences get in the way of our party. Populate! is our birthday programme, and it's our attempt to bring some unexpected faces and figures back to the depleted central city. Bulletin spoke to the Gallery's senior curator Justin Paton about what he really wants for the tenth birthday, what he finds funny, and what he really doesn't.
Grinning ventriloquist dummies are the stars of the show in Roger Boyce's Painter Speaks.
The fantastically strange, inescapably human works of renowned video artist Tony Oursler.
New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based artist Jess Johnson makes intricate drawings and painted environments that evoke other worlds and parallel realities.
Gnomes are figures in historic folklore as well as garden ornaments. But Gregor Kregar has brought gnomes like you've never seen to 'the garden city' – staunch, shiny and more than three metres tall.
Drawn from the collection of Christchurch painter Roger Boyce, these promotional posters from Ghana, Africa, are movie marketing like you've never seen: lurid, vivid and emphatically hand-made.
A New Age awakening? Or just a 1960s pipe dream? Francis Upritchard's Believer is a recent addition to her expanding gallery of hippies, dreamers and gurus.
Wellington-based artist Sian Torrington's site-specific sculptural installation combined ideas, images and materials that related to life in post-quake Christchurch
Looking out of the library window at the Kings Manor here in York I can see a bronze calf.
Christchurch Art Gallery is excited to be working with Wellington-based artist Sian Torrington on a site-specific sculptural installation that will combine ideas, images and materials that relate to living in Christchurch now.
See below for a message from Sian to find out how you can get involved.
The Gallery's latest exhibition in the Outer Spaces programme, Showhome, has opened in Christchurch, featuring the disconcertingly 'perfect' works of recent University of Canterbury graduate Emily Hartley-Skudder.
Steve Carr's strangely mesmerising sound and video projection is shown after dark in an upstairs window of the old house opposite the Gallery on Worcester Boulevard.
Christchurch Art Gallery has a new offsite space, and Seung Yul Oh has filled it to bursting with his comically vast balloon sculptures.
Op-art patterns, expanses of glitter and Māori stories of water. They're all set in motion in this dazzling video installation by New Zealand artist Reuben Paterson.
Christchurch Art Gallery celebrates its tenth birthday with a burst of art in the city – including whopping new murals, night-time projections and sculptures where you least expect them.
The kaleidoscopic moving imagery of Christchurch artist Toshi Endo has been stripped of colour and brought to a standstill in Wolf-Cub, his contribution to Christchurch Art Gallery's Stereoscope programme.
Established in Christchurch in 1933 the Caxton Press became one of the most progressive publishers of contemporary New Zealand writing and dynamic modern typographical design.
One of the best-timed gifts my family and I have ever received arrived at our home on Mt Pleasant in May.
Local artist Brenda Nightingale's beautifully produced, hand-stitched publication features a selection of recent watercolours based on one of Christchurch's defining features, the Port Hills
Two Year of the Cyclops works by Christchurch artist Rob Hood kick off the second itteration of Stereoscope at 26E Lichfield Street.
Christchurch artist Robin Neate's contribution to the Gallery's Stereoscope programme is drawn from his recent series of energised abstract paintings.
Expect the rug to be pulled out from under your feet with the last exhibition in the Rolling Maul series.
An exciting opportunity to see new work by leading Canterbury artists Tony de Lautour, Jason Greig and Bill Hammond
A miscellany of observable illustrations
Romantic notions of gothic leanings, the legacy of Tony Fomison, devotion to rock sub-genres and an eye to the past are familiar and sound reasons to group Tony de Lautour, Jason Greig and Bill Hammond together in one exhibition, but De Lautour / Greig / Hammond is to feature new and recent work. Could all this change? What nuances will be developed or abandoned? Will rich veins be further mined? We can only speculate and accept that even the artists concerned can't answer these questions. For the artist, every work is a new endeavour, a new beginning. What may appear to the public, the critic or the art historian as a smooth, seamless flow of images is for them an unpredictable process where the only boundaries are those that they choose to invent.
Back on 20 September 2011, when our public programmes team began setting up the Hagley Park Geo Dome for a talk with Shane Cotton, they put out about sixty chairs and would have been glad to fill them. After all, it was a cold night in Christchurch, the roads were rough, the Geo Dome was off the beaten track and the quake had long since broken the rhythm of the Gallery's old Wednesday night programme of public talks.
Manipulating found footage of the infamous 'Black Friday' sales held by American chain stores, James Oram isolates and magnifies smaller physical gestures amidst the frenzied crush.
Drawings of two bottles - one of gin, one of water – grace the Montreal Street side of the Christchurch Art Gallery bunker in the latest offering in the Stereoscope series.
Sharing an interest in expanding the idea of abstract painting beyond its traditional borders, Miranda Parkes and Tjalling de Vries explore the creative possibilities of commercial billboards in an exhibition that combines painting and projection to obstruct and intrigue in equal measure.
The popularity of Reconstruction: Conversations on a City has led to the exhibition being extended until 14 October, and the development of a publication.
André Hemer's many-dimensioned installation for the Rolling Maul series combines painting with a range of secondary outputs to play with ideas of distance and deletion – with particular reference to a well known work from the Gallery's collection.
Helen Calder's new work, Orange Up, provides a refreshingly bold statement on the Gallery bunker using one of the powerhouses in the range of colours: orange.
Australian artist Justene Williams uses performance and ephemeral materials to produce a sensory overload of shapes, patterns and colours in the vibrantly theatrical video work.
The Gallery's Registration department keeps a close watch on our collection of art, with regular audits to make sure all is as it should be.
Offering a poetic commentary on the intriguing resemblances between art and science, Ruth Watson's container-based video installation combines historical footage, text and her own Antarctic imagery.
An ambitious paste-up work by local artist Tjalling de Vries on CoCa's back wall (viewable from Worcester Boulevard), Tjalling is Innocent is an Outer Spaces project presented in association with CoCA.
Painted on found pages from real estate publications, Unreal Estate, is an artist's book published by local artist Tony de Lautour and Christchurch Art Gallery.
If you've not been down to the Central Library Peterborough yet now's a good time to do it.
Laden with associations, but buoyant with possibility, this large-scale window commission by renowned New Zealand artist Richard Killeen features a richly-layered composition that hints at systems of knowledge and classification.
We're pretty pleased with what we're achieving with our Outer Spaces programme, but it's always good to see what else is out there. And I do mean 'out there'...
The past is the subject of this photograph by Paul Johns – as it is the subject of all photographs. A photograph exists in the present, but what is photographed is immediately and always the past. Rather than reconstruct a specific memory, Johns’s photograph alludes to the construction of memory itself – partial, hallucinatory, inconclusive and often pieced together afterwards from photographs. The rabbit’s head somehow suggests the fevered vision of a dream, or perhaps the White Rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – always late and anxiously running to catch up.
(Now, Then, Next: Time and the Contemporary, 15 June 2019 – 8 March 2020)
Laying out Foundations
Looking broadly at the topic of local architectural heritage, Reconstruction: conversations on a city had been scheduled to open at the Gallery but will now instead show on outdoor exhibition panels along Worcester Boulevard from 23 June. Supplementing works from the collection with digital images from other collections, curator Ken Hall brings together an arresting art historical tour of the city and its environs.
Back projected large onto a shop window in Colombo Street, Sydenham, Doc Ross's photographs create a haunting record of this city before its dramatic seismic demise.
Two Year of the Cyclops works by Christchurch artist Rob Hood kick off Stereoscope, a new Outer Spaces series housed within two black frames positioned on the street-side of the Gallery's Montreal Street bunker.
A big bright mural inspired by the challenges of rebuilding a city. Kay Rosen turns the word 'people' into the foundation for an unexpected 'steeple'.
Michael Parekowhai's spectacular Venice Biennale installation returns home for its first post-Biennale showing in New Zealand.
Hannah and Aaron Beehre's immersive new installation connects us with the transformative moments beneath the surface of the everyday.
Strength, fragility and connection are at the heart of the second Rolling Maul exhibition, which features works by Georgie Hill and Zina Swanson.
Presenting new art from Christchurch, our Rolling Maul project series begins with a remarkable exhibition of sculptures by Sam Harrison.
A lot of water, and Lord only knows what else, has flowed under the bridge since Justin Paton and I first hatched our plans for a fast-paced, post-quake showing of new work by local artists. Rolling Maul, so far, has been quite the antithesis of 'fast-paced', and despite our best efforts, it is yet to roll anywhere – rather it has been beset by the same delays, cancellations and frustrations as all of the Gallery's other in-house plans.
Our original concept, as outlined in B.165, was based around the use of one of Christchurch Art Gallery's ground-floor exhibition spaces, which we hoped to reoccupy as soon as they were no longer required as part of the City Council/CERA earthquake response. But as we are now only too aware, we won't be showing anything there any time soon.
Keep an eye out for the Gallery's latest Outer Spaces project around town over the next couple of weeks as poster reproductions of three paintings by Auckland artist Elliot Collins appear pasted to bollards and walls throughout the city.
Throughout the centuries man has delighted in creating representations of his canine companions.
A haunting video projection by Ronnie van Hout in the window of the old house opposite the Gallery on Worcester Boulevard.
Julia Morison's evocative post-quake sculptures and 'liqueurfaction' paintings return to Christchurch for a special showing in a gallery space overlooking the inner-city 'red zone'.
Stretching across a vast wall at the gateway to Sydenham, Wayne Youle's new public artwork is a shadowboard, where tools for rebuilding hang alongside many familiar but precious objects.
Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Damien Hirst, Robert Smithson, Michelangelo... Yes, all the big names have just arrived on the Christchurch Art Gallery forecourt.
Julia Morison has turned the Gallery's squat grey bunker into a dizzying vision in dayglo green.
New Zealand artist André Hemer's colourful Worcester Boulevard intervention Things to do with paint that won't dry, appears to flow and spill down the side of the building.
An immense and oddly surreal landscape glowing out from the Springboard over Worcester Boulevard is the latest addition to the Outer Spaces programme.
Including a wishing well and mirror painstakingly woven from reflective black VHS tape, Scott Flanagan's latest installation considers the surprisingly elusive nature of civic memory.
In preparation for the next issue of Bulletin, Gallery photographer John and I have been out photographing some of the local artists who will be taking part in Rolling Maul when we reopen.
There’s no big break. It’s just a slow game. —Bill Hammond, 2002
Bill Hammond: Playing the Drums (3 August 2019 – 19 January 2020)
Menagerie brings together 17 historical and contemporary paintings, prints, photographs and sculpture from the Gallery's Permanent Collections, all of which feature an animal of some description, from cats, dogs and birds to horses, bulls, fish and even a hippopotamus!
Collie Dog is from a set titled ‘Six Lithographs’, a collaboration between Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, with each artist contributing three works. Grant’s three lithographs also included Hawk and The Cat and were produced at Miller’s Press. Grant was an active printmaker throughout most of his career, producing prints alongside his activity as a painter, designer, potter and decorator. He is a major figure in 20th century British art and was a central member of the Bloomsbury Group. He was also closely associated with the Omega Workshops which operated in London between 1913 and 1919.
Michael Parekowhai’s My Sister, My Self recalls a once-common sight in suburban New Zealand front gardens: the concrete seal with a chrome ball on its nose, a home-grown version of the performing circus seal. Connecting to other histories, it also recalls the kekeno, the New Zealand fur seal, which had an unfortunate central role in our pre-colonial past.
At the pinnacle of this spectacular balancing act is a replica of the artist Marcel Duchamp’s famous 1913 Bicycle Wheel – a bicycle wheel upside down on a wooden stool. Duchamp made it for his own pleasure – he liked spinning the wheel in his studio – and later described it as his first ‘readymade’.
The armadillo lives in South America. Its name means ‘little armoured one’ in Spanish. Among the twenty different species of this interesting creature, the three-banded armadillo is the only one that can roll itself into a tight ball when it needs to for protection.
The painter Graham Sutherland made this print as part of a ‘Bestiary’ published in 1968, a collection of twenty-six lithographs featuring different animals, each one suggesting a particular human-like quality. Curling tight, this armadillo may be expressing fear.
This cow belongs to an ancient breed of cattle, once common in Belgium and the Netherlands, but now almost extinct. Called the Kempens rund (Campine cattle), it was bred for milk, cheese, butter and beef; its numbers were greatly reduced during World War I when the farming area where they lived became a battlefield.
This painting is probably by the Flemish painter Balthazar Paul Ommeganck. He was one of many admirers of the Dutch seventeenth-century painter Paulus Potter, who had started something new in painting by making farm animals his main subjects, rather than minor, incidental elements.
Francis Upritchard’s baboon-ish Husband and Wife are like animals from an imaginary zoo, though their expressions may have been borrowed from the human visitors who come to stare at the beasts. Husband, absorbed with his own cleverness, does not mind such attention; Wife seems less comfortable, cringing under the viewers’ gaze.
Based in London, Upritchard is a sculpture graduate (1998) from the University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts. Since her first exhibition in London in 2000, she has shown in many different parts of the world.
Cats were a particularly favourite subject of Eileen Mayo but all animal and botanical subjects were a constant source of inspiration for her. She illustrated several books on nature subjects, including the monumental The Story of Living Things and Their Evolution (1948). A major influence on Mayo was Claude Flight, under whom she studied the linocut technique at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in 1928. She exhibited regularly with the British Linocut exhibitions held in London between 1929 and 1937. Mayo emigrated to Sydney in 1953 and settled in New Zealand in 1962. She taught at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Art from 1967 to 1972.
There is an information sheet available about this work.
William Hogarth The Bruiser, C. Churchill (once the Revd), in the Character of a Russian Hercules, Regaling himself after having Kill’d the Monster Caricatura that so Sorely Gall’d his Virtuous friend, the Heaven born Wilkes
Here’s some beastly behaviour: William Hogarth, a famous eighteenth-century British artist, trading insults with two gentlemen whom he had greatly upset. Hogarth had published an engraving attacking the journalist Charles Churchill and the politician John Wilkes, and another showing Wilkes being tried in court. Churchill, in return, published a vicious poem about Hogarth. He retaliated by making this print, picturing Churchill as a drunken bear, clutching a beer tankard and a club covered in ‘lyes’. The picture in the lower right-hand corner shows Hogarth whipping Churchill and Wilkes (as a performing bear and monkey) into line. Meanwhile, Hogarth’s pug passes judgement on Churchill’s poem.
Animal studies were popular in Victorian and Edwardian times and Hill Leopards is typical of their kind. It is unlikely that Arthur Wardle would have ever seen the African leopards in their native habitat. Rather, he observed the animals at the London Zoo and placed them in an imaginary landscape. Wardle was continuing the tradition of earlier English animal painters such as George Stubbs (1724 -1806). Painted with the fine brush treatment of the Academic tradition, the silkiness of the fur, feathery grasses and smooth rock surfaces are all presented very realistically and would have been a quite convincing likeness for the contemporary viewer. Born in London, Wardle received no formal art training but was a popular artist specialising in both domestic and wild animal subjects. Although he was self-taught, he was accepted into traditional art establishments such as the Royal Academy. He was also a member of the Royal Institute of Painters and the Royal British Colonial Society of Artists.
Nora Elizabeth (Betty) Harrison grew up in rural Canterbury, where she developed a passion for horses. She brought her knowledge of horses to creating this plaster sculpture, painted to resemble bronze. It is believed to have been modelled after a photograph of a famous stud racehorse owned by King Edward VII.
Harrison was at the Canterbury College School of Art when she made this work. A top student there in the 1920s while in her teenage years, she studied there until 1930 and then went into nursing. Tragically, she caught tuberculosis from a patient and died aged just twenty-five.
Apparently testing the limits of incorrectness, Auckland-based multimedia artist Steve Carr commissioned a skilled woodcarver to realise his highly improbable carved bearskin rug.
Bearskin rugs during the Victorian and Edwardian era craze for taxidermy were almost a standard feature in British country houses, typically in a gentleman’s trophy room or study. They came to symbolise wild nature and distant lands, ultimately tamed. Carr’s project, however, has little to do with tameness, either in conception or in its surprisingly lifelike growling effect
Michel Tuffery, a Wellington-based artist of Samoan and Tahitian Cook Islands descent, has taken cues from pop art in his use of food packaging to create the spectacular Povi Christkeke (which translates from Samoan as Christchurch Bull).
Constructed from recycled corned beef tins, this bull tells us that corned beef has become a staple food throughout the Pacific. Because of this it may be seen as a monster, an introduced beast grown powerful by replacing more environmentally friendly traditions of food production and gathering.
This article first appeared with the headline Top-stair sculpture in The Press on 30 April 2008.
If you've done your first year art history, you're probably familiar with the story of How Sculpture Fell from Grace.
The pair of domestic tigers slink slyly across the surface of the paper, prowling through the branches of a suburban tree, dispatching terror throughout the bird world and trepidation into the lives of assorted dogs.
Povi Christkeke (Christchurch Bull), a large bullock constructed from flattened and riveted re-cycled corned beef tins, is a colourful and seemingly celebratory sculpture. Artist Michel Tuffery constructed two of these corned beef bull sculptures for a ritual performance entitled Pisupo Lua Afe at the 1997 Christchurch Arts Festival. Pisupo Lua Afe was also included at the inaugural Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane 1993.