One of the things Tony and I realised while in Italy and Dubai is that we enjoy spending time together, but rarely do so. We have come back with a firm plan to go out once a fortnight, taking turn and turn about organising an outing. Today was my turn; we headed off to Wanganui and our first stop was the Sarjeant Gallery. It’s just re-opened after a bit of a do-up and is looking very smart. They have a wonderful shop with jewelery and glassworks by some of Wanganui’s many talented artists; Wanganui is well known for its glass artists and it is easy to see why.
There are two exhibitions on at the moment as two areas are still having a bit of work done to them. The first was “Edith Collier: a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the artist’s birth”. Edith Collier is undoubtedly the most significant painter to have been born in Wanganui. From 1912 to 1921 she spent time in England studying at art school and with distinguished artists such as Frances Hodgkins and Margaret Preston. Since 1985, the Sarjeant Gallery has been fortunate to be the caretakers of her significant artistic output. This exhibition celebrates the 125th anniversary of the artist’s birth and features work spanning the breadth of her career.
I admire her work in a technical sense, but can’t say I’m a huge fan of much of her painting. They are just too dark and sombre for me – the exception would be some of the watercolour landscapes she produced while in England, which have a much lighter feel.
Also on was “Colour”. This exhibition brings together artworks and objects from the collections of the Sarjeant Gallery and the Whanganui Regional Museum and is on display in both venues. By mixing up artworks and objects – from the thickly painted surface of an oil painting, to the plush fur of a stuffed animal – this exhibition looks at what each colour means to us, how it shapes our response to the environment, to each other and to the things that surround us in our everyday lives. The exhibition includes photography, printmaking, painting and sculpture and a diverse range of objects including an x-ray machine, an impressive pair of peacocks and a tiger skin rug! Co-curated by Greg Donson and Damian Skinner.
I loved this exhibition; I love colour and I love variety and this had both in abundance. They even featured orange, my favorite colour and topic of ongoing explorations. One of the highlights for me was seeing a Philip Clairmont work in the flesh. The colours are wild and the image is so chaotic. Not an image I could live with, but that’s not the point.
From the Gallery we headed downtown for a spot of shopping, finding some lovely slippers on sale for my Aunt who I have Power of Attorney for (she has a form of Dementia and is in a secure unit, so I shop for her). We had a chat with the car dealer we always use, then lunch at a lovely cafe before heading slowly home. It was a lovely outing, great to spend relaxing time together, and wonderful to see some quality New Zealand art.