"A big pat on the back to Anna Leary for her 65 Knots+ and A Prime(ary) Example. The wry commentary on the state of our apple industry, in particular, is a refreshing development from her earlier work."
It is March 1883 and the 22 year old Slade graduate Dorothy Kate Richmond arrives in Nelson as arts mistress at the newly opened Nelson College for Girls. Devoted to her father, James Crowe Richmond, who is unwell, she wants to be near him. J C encourages her to become a fulltime artist. With five children to support, it's a personal goal that eludes him.
Two delivate works hang side by side in the Catchment Gallery. The father's pencil sketch Study of Birch, Perseverance Claim, Collingwood, 1871 and the daughter's watercolour Children in the Gardens, undated and untitled but possibly Isle Park and probably from her time here in Nelson.
Mina Arndt, a contemporay of D K Richmond, also studies art in Europe and returns to live in Wellington following the outbreak of World War 1. After her marriage she moves to Motueka with her husband and continues to draw and paint, the lighter and more colourful style an indication of her happiness. Arndt dies at 41 before her full potential can be realised. Nevertheless, she is now recognised as one of our finest early artists. Hop Pickers and House and Trees, both charcoal on paper, good examples of Arndt's talent, feature in this eclectic and wide-ranging exhibition.
Then and now, artists are influenced by the light on the land and water, the created landscapes of town, village and farm and the political events of the day. Using mixed media, oil and acrylic, ornamentation, jewellery, sculpture and ceramics, the displayed work of the 10 contemporary artists, with their varied styles, convey the ethos of the individual excellently. Some I found challenging, some disquieting, and some beautiful - all demanded consideration.
John Crawfords Trafalgar Column, 1.5m high, organic, earthy, asymmetrical and reminiscent of Miro's finest sculptures, must be touched to be fully appreciated. Crawford was the New Zealand Society of Potters National Exhibition grand prizewinner in 2003.
Candy Clarke's witty acrylics feature Lord Nelson as a paper doll and take a gentle dig at Warhol's Campbell's Soup for good measure. I really like her sense of humour and that includes having to read the little backward ditty with the aid of a handily placed mirror.
A big pat on the back to Anna Leary for her 65 Knots+ and A Prime(ary) Example. The wry commentary on the state of our apple industry, in particular, is a refreshing development from her earlier work.
Frank Wells' stunning, gleaming argillite Patu Pakohe is a fierce object of beauty and Robin Slow's Te Puoho's Dog - ironically, an English bulldog - using among other things, kokowai from Golden Bay, is unlike any piece of art I have seen.
Catchment Gallery is to be congratulated for this imaginative contribution to Trafalgar 2000.