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Cross-Cultural Explorations

Cross-Cultural Explorations

Hot on the heels of their latest exhibition of contemporary New Zealand art, the Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University presents Two Laws…One Big Spirit and Gordon Walters: Prints and Design, showcasing the work of a New Zealand artist and an Aboriginal artist and their representations of cross-cultural interaction.

Two Laws…One Big Spirit highlights the work of internationally acclaimed Pâkehâ artist Peter Adsett and Australian Aboriginal artist Rusty Peters from the Kimberley region in Western Australia, while the Gordon Walters exhibition looks at a comprehensive collection of Walters’ prints and designs.

“Two Laws…One Big Spirit is a unique cross-cultural dialogue through painting,” says Sophie McIntyre, Director of the Adam Art Gallery.

“Over a fourteen day period in Darwin, these two artists painted daily alongside each other, responding to each other’s works within a predetermined palette of black, red and white. The time was marked by periods of conversation and contemplation, while the artists drank only tea and ate kangaroo.”

“During the production of the works, neither artist intruded upon the other’s style or language and during the process Rusty Peters was heard to say “I can’t paint that, [pointing to Adsett’s painting] he can’t paint my country.”

“The two ‘laws’, or two cultural frameworks that each artist worked within remained separate and differences were respected. Yet, it is evident that during the creative process, within the space of painting, something significant occurred.”

Gordon Walters: Prints and Design will run in conjunction with Two Laws…One Big Spirit and presents a new perspective on the work of one of New Zealand’s most important 20th century artists.

Curated by William McAloon, Gordon Walters: Prints and Design presents a collection of Walters’ screen-prints and the designs that he produced for books and magazines, and the logo he created for the New Zealand Film Commission.

As well as these works, the exhibition features paintings, collages, camera-ready artwork and colour studies, which provide a fascinating insight into the artist’s working process.

For Walters, printmaking was a unique visual medium that was accessible to a broad audience and, as this exhibition highlights, the prints he produced inspired many of his later paintings. While working for many years at the Government Printing Office, Walters gained a unique insight into the design and production process.

This exhibition explores the confluence between fine art and design, and considers the influence of Walters’ designs on these fields. At times controversial, Walters’ use of Mâori motifs has become a touchstone for designers searching for ways to express New Zealand’s bicultural identity.

Two Laws…One Big Spirit and Gordon Walters: Prints And Design run from 7 August – 10 October 2004.

More Information:
Peter Adsett: who was born in Gisborne, has lived in Australia since 1981, only recently returning to New Zealand in 2002. During his time in Australia, he received a number of grants and participated in artist residency programmes in Indonesia and New York. Most recently, Adsett was the recipient of one of the most prestigious artist residency programmes at the highly acclaimed McDowell Colony in New Hampshire, United States. His work is represented in many collections throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Rusty Peters: is a Gija Man of Juwurru skin and has been making art at the Jirrawun Aboriginal Arts Centre in Cunamurra since 1997. Other well-known artists from this region include Rover Thomas and Paddy Bedford who have gained international attention over the last decade or more. Rusty Peters’ work has been exhibited widely throughout Australia and is held in several prominent Australian collections, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Both Two Laws...One Big Spirit and Gordon Walters: Prints and Design will be accompanied by a range of public programmes that will include artist floor-talks, a forum that will include prominent international speakers, and a film series.

For more information on exhibitions at the Adam Art Gallery please check our website www.vuw.ac.nz/adamartgal

The Adam Art Gallery is generously supported by:
Exhibition Sponsors: Creative New Zealand, Qantas, and the Australian High Commission,
Gallery Sponsors: Intercontinental Wellington – the Adam Art Gallery’s Official Hotel Sponsor and Printlink.

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