Tuesday, February 2, 2010

long white clouds...

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Portrait of Katherine Mansfield: Anne Estelle Rice, 1918 Te Papa Collection. 
I found the excellent biography by Claire Tomalin of Katherine Mansfield who was an eminent New Zealand born writer living in London around the the time of the Bloomsbury's, in particular Virginia Woolf, and also DHLawrence - both of whom became intimate friends. A few days before picking up this book 2nd hand I was taken very much with this portrait at Te Papa. Finding the biography with this painting on the cover in an out of the way junk shop in a remote mountain village on the South Island was a treat. I gained a glimpse of the time in which she lived, both the colonial life of NZ and her prominent family's place in that and then the life of London and Europe which was the setting for much of her not so long life after the 'antipodean' childhood. Her father came to be a benefactor of Te Papa I realised tonight when looking at images. Interestingly whilst Katherine was alive family ties were very strained between them - support was offered up to a point - the artist's life was not "done"... not with this family and their desire for social eminence in the young NZ colony.
Art at Te Papa
A Te Papa publication on its art collection
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'Geneology III' Gordon Walters 1971
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'Nought and crosses', series 2, no. 4 Colin McCahon
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'Misiore' - Michel Tuffery 1988 woodcut on Tapa
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'Reap what you sow'  Richard Killeen 1979 screeprint
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'The dreaming of Gordon Walters' Richard Killeen 1995
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'Meryta sinclairii: Puka' Sarah Featon 1919

Just back from the 'Land of the long white clouds' this afternoon and its far too soon for me to have downloaded photos and sorted them so... here's a small selection of wonderful works form the brilliant 'Te Papa Museum' in Wellington to set the mood for this short sojourn in a lovely part of the globe. I chose these images from the collections online at Te Papa.
My mind is overflowing with recollections and impressions of 12 days absorbing the atmosphere of this place. Certain colours, elements and images keep drifting back - the mood is lingering and I ponder quite how to talk of it.
But now its very late and tomorrow contains many errands and tasks... so I will soon be back, hopefully with photos after the culling takes place. NZ has very, very winding roads - some photos I took with my right hand leaning out of the car on various slightly scarey corners whilst the left hand was firmly holding the wheel and concentration was focused on negotiating the challenging road. This is why I will no doubt cull a few photos...point and click has its limitations...!
I've missed friends in the blogsosphere these past 12 days BUT it was lovely to be outside, walking through wonderful locations and barely spending a moment at a desk. All fresh and ready to go again now... talk soon!


Altoon Sultan said...

Welcome home, Sophie, and thanks for the interesting images from the Te Papa Museum. I spent a week driving around the North Island of New Zealand about 20 years ago, and loved it; I did several drawings and prints based on photos I took of the landscape. I especially enjoyed visiting Rotorua, and an amazing cloud forest on a mountain whose name I forget; it was magical. It was also wonderful to see the paths worn into the green hillsides by generations of sheep.

Sophie Munns said...

Thank you Altoon for the welcome home.
Have woken up to an unusually cool morning here after all the 34 degree days plus humidity of a Brisbane summer - v. pleased to have briefly traded that for the cool of NZ.
Sleepily adjusting to being home - a mountain of tasks is sobering - so your message is a ray if sunshine.
The memories of your time on the north island sound strong. Have you still got the images of the work you did from that trip? I'd love to see them.
Interesting how different the islands are - not that I have enjoyed extensive travels in either. Physically it is remarkably varied and different to Australia and yet the colonial settlement and subsequent cultural development and tensions are familiar...if not altogether similar.
The sense of being part of the pacific region feels so strong there...the pacifica identity.
Watching a bit if Maori television, seeing and experiencing the rich presense of their cultural heritage was once again a revelation. Cant help but think it is a powerful force that non-indigenous artists would be hyper-aware of, working with, against even and around - in order to determine their individual relationship with it.
I must away.look forward to seeing what you are up to in Vermont Altoon!

Lorena said...

love those more primitive pieces, so vibrant and full of life force

Mlle Paradis said...

Welcome back Sophie - Looking for to hearing more from you! And seeing your pics!

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Lorena,
life force - yes ...thats an apt description for the energy one sees in Maori Art and also some of the work of non-indigenous artists as well... Colin McCahon comes to mind.

Mlle Paradis,
thank you! Luckily my camera battery ran out just before the airport yesterday...so ...lots of images to trawl through and discover what I actually did capture as opposed to what I thought I got on film!
Lucky dip!

La Dolce Vita said...

Hi Love, so glad you are back safe and sound! this is wonderfully chewy post and I will have to come back to really soak up the inspiration! xo

Sophie Munns said...

Thank you Caterina!
Plenty of inspiration to be found in NZ...just downloaded 699 photos - many to be culled... multiple views of certain landscapes from boats, on the road etc - trying to find a way to do justice to what I was seeing with my humble camera!
see you!
S xo