Two new exhibitions at the Hocken Gallery

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Two new exhibitions have just been installed at the Hocken Gallery. The touring exhibition ‘The Labour of Herakles’, a show of 8 etchings and 12 lithographs by Christchurch-based printmaker Marian Maguire, will tour for a further two years after it finishes here on 17 July. In this series of works Maguire casts the Greek hero Herakles as a pioneer in New Zealand’s nineteeth century landscape. Appropriating well known pictorial imagery has long been a feature of Maguire’s practice. Here is a photograph of Artcrew installing the Maguire show.

The accompanying exhibition ‘Forever After’, drawn mainly from the Hocken’s collections compliments the touring show by exploring the work of artists who have copied, adapted and re-purposed historical art. This image shows me (the Hocken’s Curator of Pictorial Collections) brushing dust that has gathered in the drapery folds of a Brucciani cast, after the famous Greek statue Venus de Milo. The copying of such sculptures provided the basis of drawing classes at art schools in New Zealand from the late nineteenth, through to the early decades of the twentieth century. The exhibition includes a Greek amphora from the Otago Museum dating to c. 550BC, a fabulous copy of Nathaniel Dance’s 1776 portrait of Captain James Cook, a sampling of Joseph Banks’ Florilegium series and two contemporary portraits by 2008 Frances Hodgkins Fellow, Heather Straka. Straka’s paintings are based on an eighteenth century drawing by Augustus de Sainson of Nataii, a Maori chief from Bream Bay.