WCL interview: Acclaimed artist Robèrt Franken

Portrait of Robèrt Franken in a studio with his painting.

Wellington artist Robèrt Franken was born in 1946 in The Hague, into a family with a long and rich artistic heritage. He grew up in the studios of Mesdag, connected with the Panorama Mesdag Museum, and is a sixth-generation artist.

Franken has lived in the Wellington region since the late 1960’s. Robèrt Franken and his work have travelled extensively, with exhibitions in Switzerland, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and China over many years. His works are also held in numerous national and international collections, including Wellington’s very own Te Papa.

“The Messenger” © Robèrt Franken

Franken works in a wide variety of mediums, such as glass engraving, ceramics, mosaic and oils. He was responsible for the sparklingly, colourful mosaics at the bottom of shallow ponds between the old Town Hall and the Michael Fowler Centre. His works have been described as Surrealist, but Franken walks to much an individual path to be pigeonholed so easily.

“Into the day” © Robèrt Franken

To illustrate this point, here are a couple of quotes from Franken which clearly demonstrate his unwavering commitment to following his own unique artistic path. “As an artist, one tries to invent a language for which I have no words.” and “Perhaps the true measure of an artist is their ability to see things differently, to redefine reality.”

We are thrilled to be interviewing Franken about his practice and, in particular, his new show Reflections in a pond which just opened at the PATAKA Art + Museum in Porirua. Reflections in a pond runs until the 20th of March. If you can’t make it out to Porirua, Franken regularly exhibits at the  Walrus gallery in Wellington.

Follow this link for details of Reflections in a pond at PATAKA Art + Museum, and here for details about the Walrus gallery.

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that you can watch our interview with Robèrt Franken below! Or, if you are more a podcast fan, there is also a podcast version of the interview. We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Robèrt Franken for his time and giving us such a fabulous interview.

Franken: “My special thanks to Jonathan and Alice Milne for being my sponsor over the past 25 years as Artist in Residence at the Learning Connextion, and to Michelle Homer at Walrus Gallery for my Framing and hanging my works.”

All photographs used in the video and displayed above are © Robèrt Franken (All rights reserved).



10.98 seconds of Wellington artists / Maschmeyer, Lennart
“Wellington, like any other place, is made unique by its people. And Wellington is made a unique place especially by its community of artists. Inside these pages are photographs of musicians on stage or painters at work, capturing both their artistic and private sides. Altogether, the amount of time captured by photographs in this book adds up to just over ten seconds, as is the title. “…an intelligent, empathetic and unique record of the contemporary artistic community within the Wellington region.” -Avenal McKinnon (Director New Zealand Portrait Gallery)” (Adapted from Catalogue)

**Update:** Now cancelled. Painter, raconteur, cultural icon: Melvin Day talk at Johnsonville Library

Melvin Day Art

**Update:** Very sadly due to unexpected circumstances we have had to cancel this event.

We are hoping to be able to reschedule it to a future date. Please keep an eye on our various social media platforms for information on any rescheduled date.

Join us for a very special event. Contemporary Art Curator Mark Hutchins-Pond presents a talk on Melvin Day, the creator of some of the most intellectually astute and visceral paintings in New Zealand art history.

Melvin Day Art


"Piano Accordion 1955 by Melvin Day"
“Piano Accordion 1955 – Melvin Day”

Melvin Day produced some of the most intellectually astute and visceral paintings in New Zealand art history. Day’s life is a colourful and fascinating one, from studying at the Elam School of Art at the age of eleven, to graduating from the Courtauld Institute of Art after serving in World War Two. Considered a radical, a traditionalist, a painter and an art historian; Day had an illustrious career which included being appointed the director of the National Art Gallery of New Zealand.  His works are to be found in many national and international public and private collections including Te Papa Tongarewa, The Dowse Art Museum, the Rotorua Museum of Art & History, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, the Auckland Art Gallery, and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. For anyone interested in the evolution of modern art in New Zealand, this talk promises to be unmissable. You can register your interest in attending this event over at our Melvin Day Facebook event.


Melvin Day, artist / O’Brien, Gregory
“There were many Melvin Days, but the term `Artist’ encompasses all of them. During a career spanning seven decades, he produced some of the most intellectually astute, yet often visceral, paintings in New Zealand art history. Born in Hamilton in 1923, Day was a radical-but also a great believer in tradition. In recent years, his early Cubist-inclined paintings have reinstated him-alongside John Weeks, Charles Tole and Louise Henderson–as a key figure in mid-20th century New Zealand art. In London during the 1960s, he was a vital and talented figure in an ex-patriate scene which also included Ralph Hotere, Ted Bullmore, Don Peebles and John Drawbridge. By later that decade he had become the most highly-qualified art historian in New Zealand and had returned home to spend a turbulent, but creatively rich, decade as director of the National Art Gallery. It was a past he never put behind him. From the late 1970s until his death in 2016, his investigations into still life, landscape and art history continued with undiminished fervour. Melvin Day-Artist is one of the great hitherto-untold stories of New Zealand art and its history. With essays by five writers who knew and understood Day-Vincent O’Sullivan, Tony Mackle, Gregory O’Brien, Mark Hutchins-Pond and Julia Waite-this book brings to light a wide-ranging yet intensely focussed life’s work.” (Catalogue)

 

 

 

Interview with Professor Anne Noble, Arts Foundation Laureate

Professor Anne Noble

Professor Anne Noble is one of the most highly regarded and acclaimed art photographers and conceptual artists working in Aotearoa New Zealand today. We are absolutely thrilled to announce that you can watch our interview with Professor Noble below!

All photographs used in the video and displayed below are © Anne Noble (All rights reserved) and Massey University Press and are reproduced with kind permission.

Professor Noble’s photographic and conceptual works have gained her a major international reputation. Her work has been exhibited globally and is held in numerous national and international collections. Her practice spans various mediums — including moving image, still photography, sound, and installation work.

Professor Noble’s previous bodies of work have to this point included pieces examining Antarctica, her own daughter’s mouth, pieces on the significance of memory and imagination to personal and cultural narratives of place and belonging, and most recently, forests.

Dead Bee Portrait #01, by Anne Noble

The video interview above particularly focuses on her various bodies of work surrounding her interest in bees. This interview was shot at Professor Noble’s recent exhibition at the Bartley & Company Art Gallery, and covers her practice — in particular this exhibition and the associated book Conversātiō – in the company of bees, recently published by Massey University Press.

More about Professor Anne Noble and her practice

Professor Noble also has another exhibition coming up — “In a forest dark…” (25 November – 18 December 2021), at Bartley & Company Art Gallery.

And below is the full extended uncut version of the interview  for anyone who wishes to delve deeper into Professor Nobles work!

Conversatio : In the company of bees / Noble, Anne
“Lavishly illustrated book to accompany Professor Anne Noble’s Bee themed exhibitions staged internationally over the course of several years. With guest essayists commenting and illuminating various points and themes explored in these bodies of work.” (Adapted from Catalogue )

Find more by Professor Noble on our Catalogue:

Spoolhenge Antarctica / Noble, Anne
“Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Cube3 Gallery, Peninsular Arts, University of Plymouth from 19 May-25 June, 2011. Includes bibliographical references.” (Adapted from Catalogue )

No vertical song / Noble, Anne
“Catalogue of an exhibition held Friday 24 March – Sunday 7 May 2017, at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne.” (Adapted from Catalogue )

Slow release : recent photography from New Zealand : Fiona Amundsen, Gavin Hipkins, Anne Noble, Fiona Pardington, Peter Peryer, Ann Shelton, Yvonne Todd
“Catalogue of an exhibition at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Victoria 10 August – 22 September 2002; the Gippsland Art Gallery Sale 16 November – 15 December 2002; and the Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, 2003.Supported by the Chartwell Trust. And including bibliographical references.” (Adapted from Catalogue )

Upcoming interview with photographer Professor Anne Noble

Professor Anne Noble
Anne in beesuit (All photographs are Copyrighted by Anne Noble and Massey University press and are reproduced with kind permission.)

Professor Anne Noble is one of the most highly regarded and acclaimed art photographers and conceptual artists working in Aotearoa / New Zealand.

Professor Noble’s photographic and conceptual works have gained her a major international reputation. Her work has been exhibited globally and is held in numerous national and international collections.

In 2003 Professor Noble was awarded the Order of Merit for services to photography in New Zealand. In 2009 she received a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate Award and was awarded the Massey University individual research medal. In 2013 Anne was appointed Distinguished Professor of Fine Art.

Professor Noble’s previous bodies of work include pieces examining Antarctica, her own daughter’s mouth, pieces on the significance of memory and imagination to personal and cultural narratives of place and belonging and most recently Forests.

Her practice spans various mediums from moving image, still photography, sound, and installation work.

Bruissement_05_003 (All photographs are Copyrighted by Anne Noble and Massey University press and are reproduced with kind permission.)

We visited her recent exhibition at the Bartley & Company Art Gallery to talk to Anne about the exhibition and the associated book Conversātiō – in the company of bees which has just been published by Massey university press. It’s a beautiful publication and contains lots of stunning, and occasionally intense works, all imagery from Ann’s various Bee related exhibitions. And features illuminating essays to accompany the pictures from several guest Essayists.

Bees have long fascinated Professor Noble and been in various aspect and guises at the core of many of her exhibitions over recent years.

Professor Noble herself is a beekeeper, and has studied their history and culture, and recently her work has looked closely at their uncertain future due to climate change and ecosystem collapse.

We were over the moon when Professor Noble very kindly agreed to a filmed Q and A interview with Wellington City Libraries.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Massey university press, Bartley & Company Art Gallery in Wellington and especially Professor Anne Noble herself for her time and enlightening and thoughtfully replies to our questions.

Click here for more information on Professor Anne Noble’s practice.

Visit Bartley & Company Art Gallery for more information. Including Anne’s forthcoming exhibition  In a forest dark… (25 November – 18 December 2021 )

Dead Bee Portrait#14 (All photographs are Copyrighted by Anne Noble and Massey University press and are reproduced with kind permission.)

Conversatio : In the company of bees / Noble, Anne

“Lavishly illustrated book to accompany Professor Anne Noble’s Bee themed exhibitions staged internationally over the course of several years. With guest essayists commenting and illuminating various points and themes explored in these bodies of work.”

(Adapted from Catalogue )

 

 

Slow release : recent photography from New Zealand : Fiona Amundsen, Gavin Hipkins, Anne Noble, Fiona Pardington, Peter Peryer, Ann Shelton, Yvonne Todd

Catalogue of an exhibition at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Victoria 10 August – 22 September 2002; the Gippsland Art Gallery Sale 16 November – 15 December 2002; and the Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, 2003.Supported by the Chartwell Trust. And including bibliographical references.” (Adapted from Catalogue )

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.