Kauri trees

Kauri trees, 1954, oil on canvas, 775 x 883 mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

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Séraphine Pick, Tethered, 2018, oil on canvas, 2000 x 1600mm. Courtesy of the artist and Michael Lett, Auckland

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Kauri, 1953, oil on cardboard, 516 x 646 mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Nicola Farquhar

Artist, McCahon House Alumni 2018

Looking back at me like two big compound eyes, I remember these paintings hung side by side in the Freedom and Structure exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. 
 
The McCahon archive has many Kauri paintings and drawings from the same period, with these circle-within-circle forms. In these works there is a strange oval head with little circles running around the top like bubbles, rocks, or curls. There are women too; sleepy with big circle breasts and stomachs. This makes me think of Huxley’s Brave New World, in which the character called Lenina questions if she is pneumatic. I had to look pneumatic up in the dictionary. How can a woman be pneumatic? I puzzled over this a lot and felt that there was something I should understand here, being a woman myself.  
 
I have my own feelings for circles, they hold so many enigmatic references: eyes, celestial bodies, portals, ovaries, cells…   
 
Abbi Curtis writes that nineteenth century astronomer Percival Lowell thought he saw cultivated canals on Mars (Life on Mars!). But actually he was looking at the pattern of blood vessels at the back of his own eye. His mistake is not without meaning; viewed microscopically our bodies are bewitchingly cosmic. 
 
Pictured here also is a work by Séraphine Pick from 2018. In this painting, Séraphine’s lemon-coloured woman is dancing nude by herself in a no-space with goggles on, wires connecting her to somewhere or something. I love her exuberant sketchy freshness. She is a suggestion for our future-selves: dancing, naked, luminescent - tuned in to a secret space outside her frame. 

CONNECTING CULTURAL LEGACY WITH CONTEMPORARY PRACTICE

Index
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Artwork image/svg+xml Group Copy 2 Group Copy 2 Created with Sketch.
Bridget Riggir-Cuddy
The House Protects the Dreamer
Naomi McCleary
Kauri
Séraphine Pick
Northland Panels
Brian Sweeney
View from the top of the cliff
Rudi Fuchs
North Otago Landscape
Rex Butler
I Considered All the Acts of Oppression
Donna McDonald
The Fourteen Stations of the Cross
Harold Jones
Muriwai no.7
Ted Spring
On Building Bridges
Areez Katki
The Three Marys at the Tomb
Rosanna Raymond
Jet Out
Rufus Knight
Waterfall
Megan Tamati-Quennell
Black Landscape
Nick Mitzevich
Victory over Death 2
Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
Victory over Death 2
The Governor-General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy
Gate III
Grant Banbury
I Paul
Sir Bob Harvey
Dark Landscape
Young Old Girls (Christchurch Girls’ High)
North Otago Landscape 19
Sophie Bannan
Van Gogh - poems by John Caselberg
Linda Tyler
Urewera Triptych
Emily Karaka
Tangi. Muriwai
Robert Gardiner
Are there not twelve hours of daylight
Thomas Crow
Are there not twelve hours of daylight
Jude Rae
Victory over death 2
Brent Harris
The Family
Cora-Allan Wickliffe
15 Drawings Dec '51 to May '52
Salome Tanuvasa
Landscape
Yona Lee
Landscape theme and variations (series B)
David Kirk
Kaipara
Priscilla Pitts
Fourteen Stations of the Cross
Ruth Watson
This day a man is
Tessa Laird
Keep New Zealand Green
Nell
East window
Nicola Farquhar
Kauri trees
Hon Grant Robertson
Otago Peninsula
Jane Macknight
Untitled (North Otago Landscape)
Karen Walker
Titirangi
Wystan Curnow
The Green Plain
Philip Clarke
Necessary Protection (IHS)
Mary Kisler
A candle in a dark room
Ayesha Green
I AM
Matthew O'Reilly
Muriwai
Bettina Bradbury and Kararaina Rangihau
A poster for the Urewera no. 2
Al Keating
A Grain of wheat
Cushla Dillon
Entombment (after Titian)
Hamish Coney
Here I give thanks to Mondrian
Stephen Wainwright
As there is a constant flow of light we are born into the pure land
Sue Gardiner
Landscape theme and variations (series A)
Robert Leonard
Numerals
Judy Darragh
Clouds 1
John Coley
AS THERE IS A CONSTANT FLOW OF LIGHT WE ARE BORN INTO THE PURE LAND
Shannon Te Ao
Ka pōraruraru ahau. I am troubled.
Helen Beaglehole
GATE III
Ralph Paine
Jump E9
Judy Millar
Muriwai: Necessary Protection
Fiona Pardington
Waterfall
C.K. Stead
All mortals are like grass
Gretchen Albrecht
As there is a constant flow of light we are born into the pure land
Martin Edmond
Cross (1959)
Lisa Reihana
Urewera mural
Peter Simpson
Jet out to Te Reinga
Christina Barton
Gate III
Dame Jenny Gibbs
I Considered All the Acts of Oppression
Zoe Black
Ruby Bay
Jim Barr and Mary Barr
Oaia and clouds
Vivienne Stone
Tomorrow will be the same but not as this is
Kate Sylvester
Northland Panels