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Christchurch City Council Media Release 3 April, 1997


Two Real: Kees Bruin and Graham Kirk

The influence of photography has played an important role in reshaping imagery for much of the twentieth century, along with the artist’s approach to perceived reality. The use of the camera in the preparation process for a work of art has often been seen as a negative force bringing condemnation from traditionalists. In fact, for a number of artists it is still a valid means toward realising painting. For both Kees Bruin and Graham Kirk, as apparent in this exhibition, the use of the camera is very important in the creation of their imagery. Although broadly termed as realists and displaying a similar element of realism, the work of these two artists is distinctively different.

Kees Bruin, who uses the camera as a starting point in preparing his imagery, prefers his work to be considered as visionary super-realism rather than slavish photo-realism. Bruin, a graduate in painting from the University of Canterbury, has been active in Christchurch for twenty years. He has been the recipient of several awards, has exhibited regularly and has work in local collections and in Australia, Europe, and U.S.A.

By contrast, Graham Kirk developed an early interest in comic imagery and photography. The merging of comic and photographic imagery was more completely realised in 1989 when Kirk stopped making comic strips and started painting. His concern has always been for achieving a ‘truth’ in his painted imagery.



The works selected for Two Real have been produced over the past five years. Some feature comic book characters and other recognisable identities from popular culture. Fred Dagg and Elvis Presley are presented as postage stamps to place them in historical context and, as in the works of Bruin, the images are often metaphors of underlying meaning. This exhibition runs from 27 April to 4 June, 1997.

The Robert McDougall Art Gallery is Christchurch’s 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 Zealand’s 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.-4.30 p.m. daily. Free guided tours are available every day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Admission is free.

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