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Ferner’s Bride Stripped Bare Exhibition

Ferner’s Bride Stripped Bare Exhibition for Wellington

A rare provocative exhibition studying the human body – called Bride Stripped Bare -- will look at the work of New Zealand artists struggling against the domination of landscape painting when it opens in Wellington in February.

The nude exhibition includes Grahame Sydney and Ralph Hotere and will run from February 2 to 28 at the capital’s Ferner Gallery.

When artist James Nairn arrived in New Zealand from Scotland in 1890, he blamed the scarcity of works from the figure on the limited opportunities to work from the life model, Ferner’s national director Helene Phillips said today.

``It was hardly surprising. The stigma attached to a woman prepared to stand naked in front of an artist epitomised the Victorian discomfort with the nude and the suspicion of those who modelled.

``Cloaked in mystique, the body was often shrouded, placed within folds of decorative drapery; or presented as the goddess, an idealised beauty. Not until last century, was the nude separated from these inherent patriarchal values where the sensual form invited the spectator to enjoy their fantasy,’’ Ms Phillips said.

As feminist consciousness rose to challenge the gender stereotype, and the practice of the life-study diminished, classicism moved aside for a direct, humanistic and sometimes confrontational composition.

Artists featured in this exhibition include Douglas MacDiarmid, Kase (eds: rpts KASE) Jackson, David Armitage, Ian Scott, John Buckland Wright, Trevor Moffitt, Grahame Sydney, John Weeks, Vida Steinert, Glenda Randerson, Louise Henderson, Ralph Hotere, Pat Hanly and Heather McLeod.

Hanly was discouraged by a teacher from painting and drawing at school. After studying overseas, he returned to New Zealand in 1962, and in 1963, 1964 and 1967 his works were included in international exhibitions of New Zealand art. His paintings are held in most public collections within New Zealand.

David Armitage was awarded a QEII Arts Council award in 1973 and in 17 years in Britain, he exhibited widely. Both he and Hanly have won Manawatu art awards.

Ian Scott is a major New Zealand artist of the post-McCahon generation who has remained innovative and relentlessly experimental throughout his prodigious career.

McCahon was his painting tutor at Elam art school. Scott consciously worked to distance himself from the older painter and develop his own contemporary approach to the landscape.

His mini-skirted bikini clad girls of 1968-70 captured the local flavour of the era as effectively as his pop art contemporaries in USA and Britain.

Scott’s exhibition history is extensive; he has numerous works in public galleries and private collections throughout New Zealand.

Against his father’s wishes, Trevor Moffitt attended the Auckland Teachers Training College before gaining a Diploma of Fine Arts (with honours) from the University of Canterbury. Moffitt became concerned that New Zealand was being painted from a European perspective and set out to paint “this place”.

Moffitt’s work is held in many collections including the Auckland Art Gallery, Aigantighe, Anderson Park, Dowse, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Forrester, Eastern Southland Art Gallery, Hawke's Bay Museum, Hocken Library, Manawatu Art Gallery, McDougall, Rotorua Museum, Sarjeant, Suter and Te Papa Tongarewa.

As one of New Zealand's leading galleries, Ferner is the only art dealers in their field to operate in both Auckland and Wellington.

Copyright 2003. Word of Mouth Media NZ

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