Robley: Te Ropere, 1840—1930
This Thesis sets out to present the work of Horatio Gordon Robley; to open his remarkably prolific and determined output as an artist to further investigation and consideration.
This Thesis does not attempt to interpret his work, although — where called for — notes have been added to Robley's own; to correct, or explain, the information he gives.
In thus ordering Robley's extensive, artistic study of New Zealand and the Maori, I have worked from the premise that, as much as the representational artist exerts a powerful selective and interpretative influence upon his/her subjects, those subjects too are charged with life and, in turn, the power to influence the artist.
This Thesis repeatedly concentrates upon moko, and upon Robley's study of moko. Again, I have attempted to present the results of that study in a form which might allow other students to evaluate and learn from his work. It is not possible to address oneself to Robley's development as an artist, to his continuing presence in this country's Art History, without addressing the artistic energy at the root of that development. It was moko, more than any other artform, which constantly provoked his art.