Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 3. 1969.
Art — One-Man Band
The works of "Graham" are at present on display at the Dunhill Cultural Foundation in the Display Center. "Graham" is a housewife and mother and a self-aught artist who paints enthusiastically and sculptures in unfired clay which she has called "cotta-ware". Her paintings arc many and varied, wide in subject matter and syle, but in fact so much so that they appear to be dashed off rather hastily without apparant involvement in their construction.
Her pictures are one dimensional in content, never rise off the canvas, never tremble with the frustraion and energy of the artist. Her few landscapes, Brodies Creek, Bridal Veil, Sandy Beach etc, are bright with colour and as impersonal as naval posters. Her animal pictures are like Life colour supplements, a trumpeting elephant, a hovering bird, a duck among the willows—very pretty and cleanly executed but never exciting.
It is difficult to feel involvement in her series of "serious" paintings, for example, Shades of Buchenwald, Voodoo. The twisted shapes are there but the life, the torture of the forms and faces is missing. This twisted form is carried over to her sculpture and the same intensity seems to be lacking. The figures Biafran Refugee, Black Beauty, Chief Mourner are interesting but unconvincing.
Her figure paintings and several sepiatone portraits, hold more promise in their smoothness and essential simplicity "Graham" brings in the rock-drawing characteristics of native art, lavishness of Eastern cultures and still ends up with some interesting combination of her own.
"Graham" is an enthusiastic amateur and as such, like Peter McIntyre, will be received most encouragingly in New Zealand
Across, the road at the Bett-Duncan Studio Gallery, 147 Cuba Street, there is an exhibition of the works of John Middleditch. Middleditch is a professional sculptor, his work is studied, his execution exact, his drawings and sculptures welded with intellectual understanding of form and completeness of expression.
He is a sensualist and his drawings and sculptures break again and again into a slow wave of melting forms. He is at present working in bronze. His work with cylinders complements the smoothness of the basins, the pelvises and the planes of his smoothly controlled line. His series of drawings of of twinned nudes is abstracted in the two pieces called Two Forms. In these there is also the unity of a spiralling shell, of falling autumn leaves, of balance and delicacy of pivotting dancers.
His work is not without humour. The largest piece Armoured Presence suggests both the might and absurdity of authority, the armoured protected tortoise body and the vulnerable head—the threatened force and the small brain directing it.
His drawings of nudes on clouds, rolling, turning and also angular with thrusting bodies. His sculptures transform both the angular and rounded into objects of flight, smoothed, clean, falling, sensualiously opening forms, technological beauty and hardened resistance.
Middleditch moulds his works, lives them and is executed by them. This exhibition will continue until March 28.
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An exhibition of prints by Don Driver will open tonight at the Peter McLeavey Gallery, 147 Cuba Street.
Don Driver was born at Hastings in 1930 and now lives in New Plymouth, His work is represented in private collections in England. France and the United States and in the collections of the Auckland City Art Gallery and the Napier Art Gallery.