Our Conscience, the third exhibition at the {Suite} Westra Gallery, features prints
of images taken at protests and campaigns.

{Suite} Gallery
www.suite.co.nz
+ 64 4 976 7663

The second exhibition at the {Suite} Westra Gallery features prints of images from Notes on the country I live in. Published in 1972 by Alister Taylor the book includes 133 Westra images with text by Tim Shadbolt and James K. Baxter.

Signed copies of the book are available for purchase alongside the exhibition prints

www.suite.co.nz

Note: Click on the link within the above gallery release  to access:
The Solitary Observer article by Janet Bayly, Art News (winter issue 2012)
– Ans Westra and David Alsop interview with Eva Radich, Radio New Zealand, 2012

Photographer John Miller was recently interviewed for the Cultural Icons project. In the two part series, he talks with Denys Trussell about his long career photographing and filming protests, political conferences, demonstrations and art events,  many of which have been pivotal in New Zealand’s contemporary history. They discuss the  Springbok Tour of 1981, the Maori Land March, Waitangi protests, the 2006 tangi of the Maori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu and much more.

Read more on Miller’s photography and view his online interviews here>>

Image: Brian Brake, 1960, Maker unknown, New Zealand. Te Papa

Brian Brake: Lens on the World
23 October 2010 – May 2011
Level 5, Te Papa
Free entry

Brian Brake: Lens on the World, will open at Te Papa this Labour Weekend and is accompanied by a beautifully produced hardback book of the same title, edited by the exhibition’s curator Athol McCredie, and published by Te Papa Press (RRPNZ $99.99). The exhibition will be displayed on Level 5, and admission is free.

‘Te Papa sincerely thanks Mr Wai-man Lau, whose generosity in gifting Te Papa this significant archive has made Brake’s work available to the nation in perpetuity’, says Mr Michael Houlihan, Te Papa’s Chief Executive. ‘Nearly 50 percent of Te Papa’s art collection is a result of donations from the public, groups, and artists themselves, and the collections are greatly enriched by these kinds of bequests.’

Brian Brake: Lens on the World features more than 200 superb photographic reproductions from the Museum’s permanent art collection and is the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the Magnum photographer’s work.

Brake began learning his craft in camera clubs as a teenager in the South Island, then at a portrait studio and as a cameraman at the National Film Unit in Wellington.

His international career began when he was introduced to the Paris-based photo agency Magnum by one of its celebrated founders, Henri Cartier-Bresson. Brake worked with Magnum during the 1950s and 60s through what was to become a golden age for photojournalism.

Brake’s work was published in magazines such as Life, Paris Match, National Geographic and Illustrated. He was regularly and repeatedly commissioned for large-scale projects for which he was flown from one side of the globe to the other at a time when only the wealthy could afford the experience of air travel.

Included in the exhibition is the international award-winning film, Snows of Aorangi, for which Brake was both Director and Cameraman. The photographic images in the exhibition include those he was invited to take in 1950s Communist China and Soviet Russia; Roman and Egyptian ruins as they were in the 1960s; candid shots of celebrities such as Pablo Picasso, Robert Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth, and the Dalai Lama; promotional work undertaken for Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s; and groundbreaking work with craft objects and taonga Maori, including some of those which travelled in the 1984 Te Maori exhibition. Together, this exhibition gives an unprecedented insight into Brake’s life and his view of the world.

Brian Brake: Lens on the World is only possible due to a substantial gift made to the Museum in 2001 by Mr Wai-man Lau. The gift includes over one hundred thousand images taken by Brake.

Prints of the exhibition images are available to purchase from the Te Papa Picture Library, and the exhibition will tour New Zealand institutions, after its Te Papa debut, beginning with Christchurch Art Gallery in September 2011.

October  1 – 29
In giving consideration to a single genre, Portraiture, identified as a category within the
wider body of the artist’s work, one can trace his evolving practice in an illuminating manner.

On Portraiture, the artist says:                                                                                                                       The urge to take portraits is, for me, one that only comes intermittently, alas. One rush came in the mid to late 1970s. Then there was an extremely large gap. Another rush came about 5 years ago. In this case I took a photo of my grandson Stan who lived in Darwin at that time. Right now I am feeling that I would like to make some more portraits. I’m in the mood. [1]

I think there is amongst photographers a kind of resistance to the idea of photographs being premeditated. My photographs are not spontaneous. They’re not ‘snaps’. They’re not ‘moments’.

On several occasions they [subjects of my portraits] have been people I have seen around the city. In general I would make the approach – and then spend a lot of time planning the picture. I usually spend a long time thinking about the clothes I want worn, the backgrounds, where I want the subject to stand.

All my photography is a kind of self exploration. But that doesn’t mean to say that all my pictures are necessarily ‘self portraits’. On one hand they are, certainly: but the pictures I take of people still do contain some truth about them. A truth, perhaps, with which I empathise. [2]

Peryer has referred to the process as ‘putting a frame around my experience’. [3]

I don’t particularly want people to smile and relax, for instance. This is one of the reasons that I often face my subjects to the sun. It tenses them. I’m certainly at odds with the smile concept of portraiture. [4] Peryer seems to strip back the protocols of the portrait photo- smile for the camera, be yourself- in search of starker and more telling fictions. [5]

Rather than seeking to probe the essentiality of human character these images exuded a timelessness and appeared more concerned with the elusiveness and theatre of identity. [6]

Neil Rowe likened Peryer’s portraits to ‘actresses in a photographic passion play’.[7]

Yet what startles….is not how much Peryer’s photographs reveal but how much they hold back …’what the critic Max Kozloff has called ‘ the enigma of personality’. [8]

The title Other acts to separate this group of works from Self [- portraits], Erika [ portraits of spouse] and Kin [ – portraits of family]

[KinSelf [proposed] are group exhibitions]

[1] Peter Peryer, Blog 11.1.10

[2] Art New Zealand #8 The photograph as portrait of self  p 25, 65, 67

[3] Peter Peryer: Photographs, Sarjeant Gallery, 1985 p 26

[4] Photo-Forum Supplement, Summer 1977/78 p13

[5] Erika: a portrait by Peter Peryer, 2001 Justin Paton p 6

[6] Second Nature, 1995 Gregory Bourke p 9

[7] Evening Post 24.12.77

[8] Erika: a portrait by Peter Peryer, 2001 Justin Paton p 8

Paul McNamara

McNAMARA GALLERY Photography
190 Wicksteed Street
Whanganui 4500
New Zealand
AIPAD member
06 348 7320
027 249 8059
www.mcnamara.co.nz

Images: (L) Ans Westra, Karakia, Parikino Maori School, 1963. Illustrated in Handboek p28 & Maori p48. Vintage Silver gelatin print. (R) Jonathan Campbell, Bronzerrotype III, Bronze, 2010.

Capture exhibition 3 Sept – 2 Oct 2010

Opening reception with Ans and Jonathan, Friday 3 Sept 5.30 – 7.30pm

Suite Fine Art Gallery, 69 Owen St, Newtown, Wellington. Gallery hours: Tues to Fri 10.30am – 5.30pm, Sat 10.30 -4pm

Capture, Suite’s first exhibition for spring, features works by bronze sculptor Jonathan Campbell and photographer Ans Westra.

Capture is Campbell’s first exhibition at Suite. A master of the lost-wax bronze casting process, he will exhibit amalgams of power plugs, birds’ skulls, leaves and cords.  His Bronzerrotype works are a sculptural interpretation of the Daguerrotype photographic process. Daguerrotypes – photographic images printed on silver-plated copper sheets – were commonly used in the 19th Century to record portraits. Symbolism within Campbell’s work reflects elemental relationships between origins, family trees, personality and character.

Westra’s ability to capture the spirit of our country has cemented her position as one of New Zealand’s celebrated photographers. An Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Artist, she is responsible for the most comprehensive photo documentation of the lives and cultures of New Zealanders during 50 plus years of cultural, social and generational change.

Washday at the Pa, which created some controversy when it was first published in 1964, has ensured Westra’s work sits directly at the centre of debates around Pakeha representation of Maori. Capture is Suite’s third exhibition of Westra’s works and includes vintage prints of well-known images from Handboek, Washday at the Pa and Witness to Change.

N.B. Ans will also have work on show at Waiwhetu Marae next week as part of their 50th Anniversary celebrations (6-12th Sept). Waiwhetu Marae, 4 Puketapu Grove, Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt.

The opening night will also be the launch for his new book YOU WON’T BE WITH ME TOMORROW.

Ans Westra becomes official Icon

September 5th, 2007

On 7 August 2007, before an audience of about 700, Ans Westra was presented with an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Award. She is the first photographer to gain this honour which she will retain for the rest of her life. Adding to its prestige, the previous holder was the late Janet Frame. The Icon Awards, launched in 2003, are limited to a “living circle” of 20 artists. In 2003 an inaugural ten Icon Artists were appointed and a further six in 2005. In 2007 a further five artists have been recognised, including Don Selwyn – Actor/Director, Stage and Screen (1936-2007) who died before the Awards ceremony.

Westra was introduced and interviewed by Luit Bieringa, an art historian who was the director of the Manawatu Art Gallery in the 1970s, and later the Director of the National Art Gallery before it was subsumed into Te Papa Tongarewa The Museum of New Zealand, in Wellington. Bieringa, with PhotoForum, organised ‘The Active Eye’, the seminal 1975 survey of contemporary New Zealand Photography, and later built up the photography collection for the National Art Gallery. Most recently he organised the touring retrospective exhibition and monograph, Handboek: Ans Westra Photographs (2004), and directed the film Ans Westra: Private Journeys/Public Signposts for BWX Productions and Television New Zealand (2007).

Although she had her right arm in plaster, for a broken wrist sustained by a fall in her garden, Ans was characteristically relaxed in front of the full Skycity Theatre audience—a veritable who’s who of art and culture. Westra’s frank answers and lively anecdotes in reply to Beiringa’s difficult questions were warmly applauded by the audience.

Each Icon Artist receives a medallion and pin designed by stone sculptor John Edgar. The artist keeps the pin in perpetuity, while the medallion, following the artist’s death, will be presented to a successor at subsequent Icon Awards ceremonies. The mana of each Award increases over time as the medallions are passed down through generations of our finest artists.

The living circle of Icons are Dr Raymond Boyce, theatre designer; Len Castle, potter; Maurice Gee, writer; Peter Godfrey, musician; Patricia Grace, writer; Alexander Grant, dancer; Pakariki Harrison, carver, Ralph Hotere, visual artist; Russell Kerr, choreographer; Margaret Mahy, writer, Sir Donald McIntyre, opera singer; Milan Mrkusich, visual artist; Donald Munro, opera singer; Don Peebles, painter; Diggeress Te Kanawa, weaver; Hone Tuwhare, poet; Sir Miles Warren, architect; Ans Westra, Photographer, and Arnold Wilson, sculptor.

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand also supports a Laureate Artists programme, for which Peter Peryer is the sole photographer among 34 recipients.

On Saturday 11 August, in an interview with Kim Hill on National Radio, Ans Westra again gave a lively and revealing account of her practice as a photographer.

Ans Westra, Auckland University Staff union lunch, Albert Park, 7 April 2005.

Illustration: John B. Turner: Ans Westra, Auckland University Staff union lunch, Albert Park, 7 April 2005.