Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 3. 1962.
Contributing editor G. L. Evans takes a critical look at some recent exhibitions.
The first two exhibitions of paintings to be reviewed this year are notable collectively for the diversity in their range and style and individually for their utter disparity in quality.
On the one hand we have a large and costly collection entitled "Paintings From The Pacific" which, overtly, was intended to be a representative collection of the type of work painters in the Pacific Basin—Japan, U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand—are indulging in today. This voluminous collection recently on show in Wellington and in other main centres, attracted some considerable interest and controversy. The avowed purpose of the organisers was to see whether the Pacific Basin provided some common characteristic influencing each country's painters.
In my opinion these paintings supposedly representative of the type of art being produced in each country, were no more characteristic than would a collection of children's comics be characteristic of serious literature being produced today in New Zealand. There were, however, a very few works outside the all-pervading abstract and impressionistic style which were very worth seeing.
In the Japanese section the traditional preoccupation with Nature was readily apparent—Chikooka's "Long: Nosed Goblin in the Forest," for example, was a large and interesting canvas. The Australian section showed a marked concern for things of the spirit set against a very Australian background. The New Zealand section was to me extremely disappointing. The only representational and indeed perhaps one of the most lovely in the whole avid show was John Holmwood's "Near Mange re"—a pleasant, subtlely conceived piece of work, distinctive yet with a very New Zealand sense of place about It.
Speaking generally, I would not, for the rest of the New Zealand section and most of the other sections, give the proverbial tin of sardines. Whomsoever was responsible for their selection must have a distorted idea of what is beauty and what is pretentious trash: especially is this seen in the U.S.A. section.