Legacies: Five Short Artist Films at Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery, Wellington
This show features the work of five nationally and internationally recognised artists: Edith Amituanai, Martin Sagadin, Pati Tyrell and Sriwhana Spong in New Zealand, and Thailand-based Ukrit Sa-nguanhai. It was curated by Thai/UK curator and film expert Dr May Adadol Ingawanij, with each artist prompted to reflect on the concept of legacies, asking themselves the question, “what does a legacy, taste, smell, sound, feel, or look like?”
The films explore each artist’s interpretation including various aspects of cultural, artistic and historical inheritance. The darkened gallery space allows you to sit comfortably, focus and contemplate the outcomes: a portrayal of a young Pasifika mother, an exploration of Thailand's film history, clay being shaped by an artist in their studio, an animation inspired by a Balinese painting by the artist's grandfather, and a vibrant representation of Samoan funeral rituals and speeches.
Collectively, the films invite you to engage with and observe the expanse of legacies that shape our collective identities, encouraging dialogue around birthplace, land, colonisation, nationalism, modern art, and film histories – perhaps inciting a longing for change from the narratives of what we already know and understand.
On until July 30. Victoria University of Wellington, Gate 3, Kelburn Parade.
Brent Harris: The Other Side at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
This is Aotearoa’s first complete survey of accomplished printmaker and painter Brent Harris’s artistic career, which has spanned more than 40 years.
Harris was born in Palmerston North in 1956 but lived in Melbourne from 1981 for 35 years. When his father passed away in 2016, he returned home to Aotearoa; what followed was a surge of creativity and an intense period of discovery in his practice.
The exhibition, guest curated by Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s senior curator Jane Devery, is made up of several paintings, drawings and prints ranging from small to large-scale. They draw you into Harris’s captivating and unique ways of making, as they explore the human condition and cover themes of identity, emotionality, sexuality, spirituality, desire, family dynamics, life and death.
The longer you look, the more detail you begin to see in the abstractions. Lines and shapes morph into Freudian symbols, figures and representations linked to Harris’s past – his experiences growing up in Palmerston North, life in Melbourne and later in Auckland. Throughout his work, you can also discover references to renowned New Zealand artists Colin McCahon and Gordon Walters, as well as modernist painter Piet Mondrian and American artist Mike Kelley.
Don’t miss the video profile of Harris viewed on a screen at the start of the exhibition. It homes in on Harris’s motives and psychological themes, and includes an interpretation of a print by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, one of the Harris’s many influences.
On until September 17. Wellesley Street East, Auckland CBD.
Frances Hodgkins: Between Croft and Corfe at Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Take in late career works by famed NZ artist Frances Hodgkins at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, primarily drawn from the gallery’s own collection. The focus is on 12 medium-to-large-scale paintings created between 1939 and the mid-1940s, highlighting the artist’s profound connection to the English countryside during wartime.
Hodgkins had left Aotearoa for London in 1901 and frequently moved between there and southwest England, settling in Corfe Castle village in Dorset during World War II in 1939. Despite the challenges of the war, she continued to move between different villages from 1945, including a time in Somerset where she worked in a studio called The Croft.
Between Croft and Corfe demonstrates Hodgkins's resilient approach to painting, highlighting her use of colour and evolution in modernism during an increasingly tumultuous time. The paintings feature a series of rural scenes illustrating barns, sheds, animals, farm equipment and waterways. She used rural life as her subject matter, all amid harsh weather and frequent air raids.
While you’re visiting the gallery, don't miss New Zealand contemporary artist Peter Robinson’s exhibition Kā Kaihōpara, a multimedia installation showing his various creations and current areas of exploration.
On until July 23. 30 The Octagon, Dunedin.
Ngā Whetū at Corban Estate Arts Centre, Auckland
With Matariki coming up on July 14, Corban Estate Arts Centre presents a group exhibition of Māori artists to support our understanding of the significance of Matariki and Te Tau Hou (the Māori New Year). Each artist’s work is related to ngā whetū (the stars), including Puanga and the Matariki cluster.
Different iwi and whānau have their own kōrero tuku iho – oral traditions and stories passed down through the generations surrounding these celestial events. Some iwi celebrate Matariki, while others observe viewing Puanga due to geographical reasons.
Making your way through the galleries, you will find a diverse range of artworks by the likes of Lisa Reihana, Aroha Gossage and more. These include weavings, hanging installations, videos, photographs, paintings, portraiture and sculpture, some of which are thoughtfully displayed on walls painted a dark shade of midnight blue. Some of the works use natural fibres like harakeke, as well as found objects such as tyres and stones. Don’t forget to read more about each artist’s work in the exhibition booklet; Ngā Whetū provides a distinct exploration of the cultural significance of the stars in Aotearoa through the personal perspectives of each artist.
The exhibition is accompanied by a program of free gallery events, inviting the public to participate, including a guided tour on June 24 with curators Penny Howard and Melina Payne.
On until July 13, 2 Mount Lebanon Lane, Henderson, Auckland.
Anita Tótha is an art consultant working between New York and Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.