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New Perspectives On Gallery Collection

20 May 2004

Two medium-term exhibitions, newly opened at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, offer unique perspectives on the Gallery’s collections.

Suites from the Permanent Collection is an exhibition of five print suites by contemporary New Zealand artists. Portraits and Personalities: Portraits from the Permanent Collection explores self-portraiture, family portraits and portraits of New Zealand artists. Both exhibitions are drawn from the Gallery’s own collections of over 5,500 works.

Christchurch Art Gallery Public Programmes Manager, Hubert Klaassens, says both exhibitions allow visitors to experience familiar as well as lesser known works from the Gallery’s collection in a new context.

“The Suites exhibition provides an opportunity to see how major contemporary artists from New Zealand explore a range of ideas and themes, as well as a variety of techniques, within a set of prints,” says Hubert Klaassens.

Suites from the Permanent Collection features five suites, or sets, of prints by Tony Fomison, John Pule, Denise Copland, and Barry Cleavin. The exhibition also includes a collaborative suite by Ralph Hotere and Bill Culbert, which is being shown by the Gallery for the first time.

“This is also the first time that the Gallery has created a show focussing on suites of prints,” says Hubert Klaassens.

“There is usually little opportunity to view suites in their entirety in New Zealand, as many are broken up and sold individually.”

Portraits and Personalities explores portraiture in a variety of media, from painting and works on paper, to photography and sculpture. The exhibition focuses on works by New Zealand artists, and includes portraits by Elizabeth Kelly, Grahame Sydney, Olivia Spencer Bower and Alan Pearson.

“Portraiture has a long history, which provides both a window into a place and time, and an insight into concepts of identity and the nature of how we perceive others,” says Hubert Klaassens.

“The image of a face or head holds a fascination for audiences, not only for who is portrayed, but also how an artist has interpreted and rendered the subject.”

“The aim of both exhibitions is to give visitors new insights into the rich variety of works held by Gallery for the Christchurch and Canterbury community.”

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