Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 11. 1965.
Fine Arts Exhibition
Fine Arts Exhibition
Reviewed by Mike Gaffikin
On the whole the NZ Universities Fine Arts Exhibition was pleasing for it contained a considerable variety of works, styles and mediums, showing clearly the predilections of young New Zealand artists for the "contemporary" trends in New Zealand Art.
This was at times disappointing, especially when confronted by the old farmhouse and sheds amongst the beautiful New Zealand scenery.
Such paintings should surely be displayed on chocolate boxes and tourist calendars and not at a university exhibition, where one expects to see imagination and thought combined with a sure technique rather than exercises in "how to paint mountains."
Three factors of the exhibition were disappointing.
First was the length of the exhibition and second was the layout which was inclined to be a bit cluttered. Third was the apparent lack of originality of the artists.
Another feature, perhaps disappointing, was that the exhibition represented only three of the seven universities—Victoria, Otago and the major contributor, Auckland.
A large, blue-black "litho-type" work executed by Colin McLaren (Otago), entitled "23," was very reminiscent of the pop art work of Andy Warhol exhibited in the Leo Castelli Art Gallery, New York.
This work consisted of a face lithoed 23 times with different ink strengths, and although it was a pleasing pastiche it lacked any imagination.
Warren Viscoe (Auckland) entered two paintings, both entitled "Interior Event." These had strong Braque overtones in colour and line as well as subject—cubist still life. Both consisted of cubist objects which appeared to be a little too cluttered and would have been more successful had they been a bit simpler.
Barbara Tuck's (Auckland) "Painting" was worth note and was made up of an intermingle of pale colour. "The Plea," by Peter Wichman (Victoria) was by far one of the better paintings on show and was typical of his style: an emotional study expressed through accentuated features and deep, earthy browns and greens. His other two paintings, "Pieta" and "Mountain Village" had been previously exhibited at the university.
Susan Early's (Auckland) "Landscape" was another painting which would be classed one of the "better" with its bright colours and simple form arranged in a way to give an interesting semi-abstract work with considerable technical qualities. A portrait of "Paul Miller" by Derek Ball (Auckland) as an exhibition item lacked imagination and any mature emotion.
Well worthy of note were "Painting I," "Painting II" and "Painting III" by Alan Franks (Auckland). All three oils were very similar with deep but bright reds, blues and black backings. They had black and blue exteriors and the centre portion taken up with surrealistic writhing red forms.
"Nude on a Blue Rug," Virginia Ryan (Auckland), was another "better" painting, with its flowing lines and rich, creamy colours, contrasting with a background of a cold blue rug. This painting was technically very sound and the emotions portrayed simply. It was perhaps unfortunate that the artist did not exhibit more works.
An exhibit which attracted considerable attention was a relief sculpture (woodcut) by F. J. Light (Victoria), The subject was two figures, post embrace, and its execution was of a high standard.
Susan Matthews (Otago) had four works on show and all were similar with pale, washy, water colour landscapes being the central feature of all.
There should be no doubt that the exhibition fulfilled its place in arts festival and also achieved its aim in showing what New Zealand university fine arts is today.