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Adam Art Gallery connects histories of cinema and painting

4 February 2013

New Adam Art Gallery show connects histories of cinema and painting

The interaction between major figures from the history of cinema and important contemporary artists lies at the heart of the Adam Art Gallery’s upcoming show at Victoria University of Wellington.

Cinema & Painting is a visually stunning exhibition that rethinks connections between film and painting. It proposes a history for cinema that links it to painting by identifying features both mediums share: colour, light, implied and real motion, and the play between flat surfaces and projective space.

Inspired by the PhD research of curator Michelle Menzies and developed with Daniel Morgan, a professor of film studies at the University of Chicago, the exhibition is the Gallery’s contribution to the 2014 New Zealand Festival programme.

Cinema & Painting features an international group of pioneering filmmakers—the Lumière Company (France), Jim Davis (USA), Oskar Fischinger (Germany), Len Lye (NZ/UK/USA), Hollis Frampton (USA), and Ken Jacobs (USA)—and historically significant artists such as William Fox (UK/NZ), Colin McCahon (NZ), and Anthony McCall (UK/USA). These are brought into play with a newer generation of artists, represented here by Judy Millar (NZ/Germany), Phil Solomon (USA), Diana Thater (USA), and Matt Saunders (USA/Germany).

Cinema & Painting offers unique opportunities to see historical gems, such as Len Lye’s suite of card stencils and Colin McCahon’s Fog drawings.

The exhibition also premieres a number of contemporary works including new work by Judy Millar, whose 3-D digital ‘paintings’ represented New Zealand at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2011.

Curators Menzies and Morgan believe this exhibition is especially important given the digital revolution that has transformed the practice of, and our relationship to, image-making.

“We are trying to construct a history that brings together artists from different geographical locations and timeframes to establish a tradition that will make sense of our current moment.

“Digital processes in all kinds of image making have created ever more fluid and flexible surfaces and spaces. This exhibition sketches out a past for these practices in a way that lets us understand where they have come from and where they could go.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a public programme, including talks by artists Judy Millar and Diana Thater, and rare film screenings.

What: Cinema & Painting
Where: Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
When: 11 February–11 May 2014
Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm (closed on Monday)
Free entry

The exhibition will be opened by Roger Horrocks, biographer of Len Lye and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies at the University of Auckland, on 11 February, 6–8pm.

For a copy of the public programme visit


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