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Paintings examine patient/doctor relationships

The latest exhibition at Te Auaha opens on Thursday 12 July at 5.30pm with In search of meaning; figuring change, recent work by Whitireia graduate Catherine English.


The latest exhibition at Te Auaha opens on Thursday 12 July at 5.30pm with In search of meaning; figuring change, recent work by Whitireia graduate Catherine English.

In 2016 English along with others began a complaints process with the New Zealand Medical Council. Eighteen months later she is still awaiting a decision about the doctor-in-question, her husband. This exhibition questions the meaning of consent and non-consent in the context of power imbalances— specifically a patient/doctor relationship. Through vigorous mark-making, English explores the emotional weight and poignancy of the situation in which she found herself.

‘As a 21st century gestural painter, the paint and charcoal record Catherine’s thinking about power, consent and vulnerability, and the realisation that she was married to someone she didn’t know or trust. Catherine’s gestures and marks document the difficulties and anxieties of waiting for a decision from an organisation she has no faith in,’ says curator Mary-Jane Duffy.

‘Painting has been under threat in recent decades with many art schools no longer teaching technical skills. English’s work shows that is it still a relevant medium with the power to provoke dialogue and communicate emotion,’ says Te Auaha Director Victoria Spackman.

English graduated from the Whitireia visual arts programme in 1993 and has continued to paint and exhibit. She is currently a finalist, for the third time, in the Parkin Drawing Prize at the Academy of Fine Arts. She is also a graduate of the Whitireia creative writing programme (both the visual arts and creative writing programmes are now part of Te Auaha) and has a Masters from the IIML at Victoria University. She grew up surrounded by the paintings of her great grandmother, Olive White (Ngāti Awa), who was a student of Charles F. Goldie. You can find her work on Instagram - @catherine.english.art and FaceBook @catherine.english.art and Twitter @ c_english_art

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