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Memos For The New Millennium

A series of six Colin McCahon panels that have never before been publicly exhibited are being shown together for the first time at an exhibition at The University of Auckland’s Gus Fisher Gallery.

Called “MEMOS FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM” the exhibition challenges University of Auckland staff who are practising artists to respond to works from the University’s art collection.

One of these works - Roman Numerals and Roman Ground - comprises six numeral glass panels by McCahon, which were originally commissioned for the stairwell of The University of Auckland’s Medical School in 1975.

The Director of the Gus Fisher Gallery, Robin Stoney, said that the panels were installed on each level of the Medical School complex.

“Although thousands of people will have seen these works, it is unlikely that many would have been aware they were McCahon originals, or viewed them in their entirety,” she said.

Taking as his conceptual starting point the book “Six Memos for the New Millennium” by writer Italo Calvino, Dr Peter Shand, exhibition curator and senior lecturer in Fine Arts, invited eleven artists - staff members at The University of Auckland - to select an artwork from the University’s art collection and then to make an artwork of their own in response to it.

“The theme of the exhibition provokes the University artists to consider, understand and critique in new ways the artworks from the art collection and the notion of collecting,” he said.

The contributing artists, Lisa Crowley, Rodney Fumpston, Paul Gilbert, Nuala Gregory, Vicki Kerr, Judy Millar, Caroline Rothwell, Carole Shepheard and Julainne Sumich work at Elam School of Fine Arts, while Jane Dodd works in The University of Auckland’s Fine Arts Library, and Alan Wright in the Art History department.

Associate Professor at Elam Carole Shepheard’s Night Crossing (The Surrender) dominates the entrance lobby of the building. She has attached tiny threads to the edge of the historic ceiling and from these she has suspended glass vessels of different shapes and sizes, many originating from a chemistry laboratory. These fluid-filled vessels catch the light that filters through the coloured glass of the heritage dome. Lisa Crowley’s colour photographs from The Passenger Series are luminous, while Vicki Kerr’s installation Bird Cut-Outs perch precariously on wooden sawhorses.

Artworks selected from the University’s art collection include paintings by Frances Hodgkins, Don Binney, Milan Mrkusich, Anne Noble, Ralph Hotere and Jean Baudrillard.

The Gus Fisher Gallery, The Kenneth Myers Centre, 74 Shortland St, Auckland, is open weekdays 10-5, Saturdays 10-3, closed public holidays. The exhibition runs until 11 May 2002.

For further information please contact Gallery Director Robin Stoney on 09 3737599 ext 6806

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