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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 5. 1967.


This year's New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Autumn Exhibition opened on Saturday, April 8, and will close on Sunday, April 30. There are 337 exhibits of works by 145 artists on display.

On entering you can see the typical Academy-type paintings the Cedric Savages, the Colin Wheelers, the R. B. Watsons and the Peter Mardons. However, on closer scrutiny it is possible to distinguish new, exciting styles and subjects among the works of the less known artists. This makes one believe this year's exhibition is a step up from previous ones.

There is perhaps considerable sociological significance in the fact that most of the good artists in New Zealand are women. This is undoubtedly due to women having one of the most important ingredients of painting—time, but why do the male painters on the whole lack imagination? Could this be that on Sundays, after working their week, they feel drained of their imaginative resources or is it in their old age they have lost forever such resources? Would-be artists should also be reminded that not only does art require artistic and aesthetic ability, but also considerable hard work.

Over the last few years the Academy appears to have been struggling under the internal conflict of two opposing poles: the old school and the modern. Until this year the old school, painting in the styles and the subjects of past artists who have done the job far better, have dominated. This year the modern school (and I would emphasise not necessarily abstract) is seen on an equal footing as regards numbers, and artistically they stand far above their ancestors.