Cats, Dogs, Teabowls and Other Things That Influence Artists

Influence and inspiration, are fickle topics to understand even to the best of us, but perhaps none more so than the artistic community. The stories behind art and the artists who created them, what inspires artists and who they inspire in turn, are some of the greatest hidden stories of our time. So in our most recent picks we invite you to look closer at art, at muses, at what inspires, what what influences, and yes, at cats, dogs and Teabowls.

Syndetics book coverCats in art / Desmond Morris.
“The cat, that most graceful, stubborn, and agile of animals,has been a favorite subject of artists the world over from prehistory to the modern day.In his latest book, Desmond Morris tells the compelling story of cats in art. He explores feline art in its many forms, tracing its history from ancient rock paintings to the depiction of cats in cartoons. The result is a beautifully illustrated book that will delight anyone with a Kitty, Max, or Tigger in their life.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA dog a day / Sally Muir.
“It all began with a Facebook post in 2013: ‘My name is Sally Muir and this is a new gallery where I will add a dog drawing/painting every day, adding up to a massive 365 day dogfest.’ As the page grew in popularity, so did Sally’s dog portraits, leading to commissions, exhibitions at prominent galleries, and events. Drawing on artworks from the site, A Dog A Day is a lovingly curated collection and celebration of dogs, perfect for all dog lovers.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe teabowl : East & West / Bonnie Kemske.
“Revered for its associations of its past and its connotations of sophistication and simplicity, the teabowl enjoys an elevated status. Here Bonnie Kemske looks at the form as a whole, considering the history and ideas behind the original tea ceremony, how it moved into contemporary ceramics, and the way it is used today. This book is wide in scope, thorough in detail, and essential reading for anyone involved in making or using these tactile objects.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInside the Freud Museums : history, memory and site-responsive art / Joanne Morra. “Sigmund Freud spent the final year of his life in London, surrounded by all his possessions, in exile from the Nazis. The long-term home and workspace he left behind in Vienna became a seemingly empty space. Now museums, both of these spaces resonate powerfully. Taking us on a journey through the ‘site-responsive’ artworks, Joanne Morra offers a fresh experience of the history and practice of psychoanalysis, of museums and contemporary art.” (AdaptedSyndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe long dream of waking : new perspectives on Len Lye / edited by Paul Brobbel, Wystan Curnow and Roger Horrocks. “Recognized internationally as one of the twentieth century’s great modernist innovators, New Zealand artist Len Lye is most famous for his avant-garde experimental films and for his astonishing and playful kinetic sculptures.  In this collection of essays, writers from New Zealand and overseas consider Lye’s assured place in modern art from a variety of fascinating and thought-provoking angles. ” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of Lent : a painting a day from Ash Wednesday to Easter / Sister Wendy Beckett. This delightful book describes and interprets a series of paintings for each day of Lent. Artists often address subjects that our culture seeks to avoid, and Sister Wendy’s brilliant and perceptive reflections will help you to read these paintings with a more discerning eye and encounter deeper levels of spiritual meaning than may at first appear. (Amazon Summary)

Syndetics book coverGordon Walters : new vision / commissioning editor, Zara Stanhope ; curators, Lucy Hammonds, Laurence Simmons and Julia Waite ; managing editor, Clare McIntosh.
“One of New Zealand’s most influential artists, in a practice spanning 50 years, he explored the seemingly infinite potential of a limited set of geometric forms to create art of increasing refinement. Here we see the first complete picture of the artist’s extensive body of work, offering readers new perspectives on the evolution of Walters’ rigorous abstraction.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverModern art in detail : 75 masterpieces / Susie Hodge.
“Great works of art cannot be fully understood in a single encounter. Modern Art in Detail: 75 Masterpieces spotlights the finer points that even connoisseurs may miss. From the late 19th century to the modern day, it treats each piece on its own merits, but it also views each as part of a tradition, which sees artists pass a baton down through the ages. Moreover, it charts the shift from the supremacy of artistic technique to the dominance of the idea or concept behind the object created.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Shane Cotton at City Gallery

If you are looking for something (warm, dry and indoors!) to do in Wellington, I recommend you have a look around City Gallery in Civic Square. They are currently hosting an exhibition by esteemed and iconic New Zealand artist Shane Cotton (Ngāpuhi: Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hine, Te Uri Taniwha).

Shane Cotton has been a familiar name and figure in New Zealand art since the 1990s and his most recent exhibition, titled The Hanging Sky, features “a succinct and lively presentation of Cotton’s freshest work”. You can check out the full exhibition details on the City Gallery website.

You can find out more about Shane Cotton and his work here at the library:

Syndetics book coverShane Cotton.
“As a presentation of a prominent New Zealand artist, this beautifully designed display of Shane Cotton’s paintings is based on his major 2003 retrospective exhibition at City Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand. Demonstrating the work of Cotton (Ngapuhi: Ngati Rangi, Ngati Hine, Te Uri Taniwha) this volume presents the multiple aspects of his bicultural Maori and Pakeha heritage as well as the nature of New Zealand’s cultural identity.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShane Cotton : The Hanging Sky
“For two decades Shane Cotton (ONZM, Ngapuhi) has been one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed painters. His works of the 1990s played a pivotal part in that decade’s debates about place, belonging and bicultural identity. In the mid 2000s, however, Cotton headed in a spectacular and unexpected new direction: skywards. Employing a sombre new palette of blue and black, he painted the first in what would become a major series of skyscapes-vast, nocturnal spaces where birds speed and plummet. The Hanging Sky brings together highlights from this period with four distinctive new responses.” (Syndetics)

Shane Cotton.
(This was published on the occasion of the exhibition “Shane Cotton” at the Hocken Library in 1999)

Tuakiri : Shane Cotton in the pursuit of identity / Shelley Jahnke.
“Surveys the production of [Shane Cotton’s] work from 1991-2003” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverTe huringa = Turning points : Pākehā colonisation and Māori empowerment : paintings from the collections of the Fletcher Trust and Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare O Rehua Whanganui.
The exhibition looks at the representation of Māori and Māori subject matter by Pākehā artists and as a turning point the way in which Māori artists have reflected their own ideas and concerns.

Syndetics book coverTaiāwhio II : contemporary Mäori artists : 18 new conversations / general editor Huhana Smith with Oriwa Soloman, Awhina Tamarapa and Megan Tamati-Quennell ; photography by Norman Heke.
“Taiawhio: Conversations with Contemporary Maori artists, now in its third reprint, has proven invaluable to art lovers, students, teachers and those with a passion for New Zealand art. This new volume profiles a fresh range of contemporary Maori artists. Each profile contains pages of information and quotes from the artists so readers can learn, in the artists own words, about their influences and inspirations, work methods and practice, while numerous full-colour photographs accompany each chapter, depicting the artists at work and showing the range of their work and the environment in which they create it. Short biographies are given for each artist profiled and a general introduction by Huhana Smith provides context for the interviews and background information about contemporary Maori art.” (Syndetics)

Hotere: Honouring an Icon

Ralph Hotere, or Hone Papita Raukura, was a prominent Māori artist and widely recognised as one of New Zealand’s most important artists. He was born in Mitimiti, Northland and was of Te Aupōuri and Te Rarawa decent. Known as a “warrior artist”, he was renowned for his passionately political artworks, as he provocatively portrayed some of New Zealand’s most divisive historical events. He is attributed with having helped shape New Zealand’s cultural identity, and was accordingly appointed to the Order of New Zealand in the New Year Honours 2012 for services to New Zealand. He passed away on 24 February 2013 at age 81, and was mourned and remembered in a large service in Dunedin on 28 February.

We have many books about Ralph Hotere here at the library:

Syndetics book coverRalph Hotere : black light : major works, including collaborations with Bill Culbert / [editors, Cilla McQueen … [et al.]]

Syndetics book coverRalph Hotere / with Kriselle Baker & Vincent O’Sullivan.

Syndetics book coverHotere : empty of shadows and making a shadow : lithographs by Ralph Hotere / Peter Vangioni, Jillian Cassidy ; introduction by Marian Maguire.

Syndetics book coverThe desire of the line : Ralph Hotere figurative works / Kriselle Baker.

As well as these, we have a DVD about Ralph Hotere:

Ralph Hotere / directed by Darcy Lange.

And even a video!

Hotere [videorecording] / a Paradise Films production ; written & directed by Merata Mita.
Discusses the artwork of New Zealand’s most famous contemporary Māori artist, Ralph Hotere. Suggested audience: general.

We also have a full collection at Central Library of Art New Zealand magazines, dating back to 1976. Ralph Hotere features in a huge number of them. If you need assistance to access the collection, just ask at any of our Central Library enquiries desks and we’ll be glad to help.