|14 April, 1997|
In New Zealand, both Maori and European have contributed to the diminution of indigenous flora and fauna. In earlier times, a natural process of selection was largely responsible for such losses, but more recently the human species has set a unique course of deliberately trapping, snaring and killing other species with impunity, from the most remote to the closest to their kind. We are surrounded with reminders of the temporary nature of species, from the buried bones of dinosaurs in stone from prehistoric times to the extinct examples trapped in museum cases reminding us of the losses in more recent times.
It is Barry Cleavins contemplation of human destruction of other species, particularly in New Zealand, that forms an important focus of many of the works in this exhibition. We are surrounded with reminders of the temporary nature of species in these 110 works, mostly made up during the past three years. Cleavins sardonic images on the Gallery walls are accompanied by several museum-sourced skeletons, from which his prints are based. This exhibition of 110 works, is the first major showing of Barry Cleavins work in the McDougall since the retrospective Ewe & Eye, toured by Auckland Art Gallery in 1982.
Born in Dunedin in 1939, Cleavin is an artist who has for many years observed the polarities of human identity and has explored the interaction of humankind with their own and other species. Cleavin is a figurative artist with a controlled and formal drawing style and he has held firmly to the age-old method of printmaking. The Elements of Doubt can be seen at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery from 29 May until 13 July, 1997.
The Robert McDougall Art Gallery is Christchurchs public art gallery which features regularly-changing exhibitions of international and New Zealand historical and contemporary art. The McDougall Art Annex is one of New Zealands leading contemporary art venues. The Robert McDougall Art Gallery is located in the Botanic Gardens, behind Canterbury Museum. The McDougall Art Annex is situated across the road in the Arts Centre, Worcester Boulevard. Hours at both galleries are 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily. Free tours are available every day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Admission is free.