Blog Archives

Imaging war, Stella Ramage

Behind the Twisted Wire: New Zealand Artists in World War I Jennifer Haworth Wily Publications, $50.00, ISBN 9781927167212 Recently, I had the privilege of watching the magnificently restored WWI propaganda film, Battle of the Somme (1916). Shot by official cinematographers

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Review and War

Dazzling, dizzying cornucopias Stella Ramage

Marcus King: Painting New Zealand for the World
Peter Alsop and Warren Feeney
Potton & Burton, $80.00,
ISBN 9781927213704

Vivid: The Paul Hartigan Story
Don Abbott
RF Books, $65.00,
ISBN 9780473337117

Marcus King and Paul Hartigan belong to that interesting group of New Zealand artists who have successfully combined personal fine art careers with employment as commercial graphic designers and advertising illustrators. At various points in their careers, Russell Clark, Ralph Miller, Graham Percy, Milan Mrkusich, Dick Frizzell and doubtless many others have also juggled day jobs and private artistic practice. With the exception of Mrkusich and Frizzell, these artists have often been relegated to the margins of our national canon (hence the flurry of monographs in recent years intent on reclaiming their artistic legacy from oblivion). Are they suspected of lacking the passionate commitment of the “true” modernist artist: the torment of McCahon, the dedication of Angus, the activism of Hotere or the self-destructiveness of Fomison? The authors of these monographs firmly reject such Byronic assumptions, arguing effectively for a broader, more inclusive version of our national art history that acknowledges commercial art as a valid contribution to our visual culture.

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Posted in Art, Biography, Non-fiction and Review

The ocean within, David Eggleton

Art in Oceania: A New History Peter Brunt, Nicholas Thomas, Sean Mallon, Lissant Bolton, Deidre Brown, Damian Skinner and Susanne Küchler. Peter Brunt and Nicholas Thomas (eds), assisted by Stella Ramage Thames & Hudson, $130.00, ISBN 9780500239018 Art in Oceania:

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction and Review

An act of restoration, Stella Ramage

Moments in Time: Ralph Miller – Artist
Brian Miller
Lifelogs Ltd
ISBN 9780992245702

Ralph Miller occupies a small, forgotten corner of our art history. A sign-writer and designer by trade, Miller nurtured a private artistic career that was sadly cut short by his sudden death in 1956, at the age of 37. Brian Miller, the author of this book and the artist’s son, aims to illuminate that corner.

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction and Review

Glamorous facelift, Stella Ramage

Two Hundred and Forty Years of New Zealand Painting Gil Docking (with additions covering 1970-1990 by Michael Dunn and 1990-2010 by Edward Hanfling) David Bateman, $100.00, ISBN 9781869538040 Publishers presumably ask themselves some questions before undertaking a new book. What

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Posted in Art, History, Non-fiction and Review

Fruit bats to faith, Stella Ramage

Dark Night: Walking with McCahon Martin Edmond Auckland University Press, $37.99, ISBN 9781869404833   A meander through Sydney in the possible footsteps of artist Colin McCahon, who once spent 28 amnesiac hours lost in the unfamiliar city, seems a flimsy

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction and Review

A cabinet of curiosities, Stella Ramage

A Micronaut in the Wide World: The Imaginative Life and Times of Graham Percy Gregory O’Brien Auckland University Press, $59.99, ISBN 9781869404703 The exhibition staged in Wellington City Gallery to accompany the publication of this book contains a striking homage

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Posted in Art, Biography, Non-fiction and Review

A figure in motion, Stella Ramage

Art That Moves: The Work of Len Lye Roger Horrocks Auckland University Press, $60.00, ISBN 9781869404222 Last September I visited the blockbuster Salvador Dali exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Glamorous and edifying though it was, I

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction and Review

What sustains, Stella Ramage

Mrkusich: The Art of Transformation  Alan Wright and Edward Hanfling Auckland University Press, $99.99, ISBN 9781869404376 I had a sort of epiphany the first time I saw a painting by Piet Mondrian. Prior to this my Mondrian experience had been

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction and Review

Shooting the south, Stella Ramage

White Silence: Grahame Sydney’s Antarctica Grahame Sydney  Viking, $115.00, ISBN 9780670072538 How does the sustained gaze of the landscape painter, obsessively re-imagining the sun-scorched expanses of Central Otago in a million meticulous brushstrokes, adjust to the mechanical snap of a

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Posted in Non-fiction, Photography and Review
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