New Zealand Cubism on display at MTG Hawke’s Bay

Paintings by significant artists Colin McCahon and Louise Henderson will feature in a new exhibition opening at MTG Hawke’s Bay on Saturday 24 June. 

A revolutionary international style, Cubism's influence spread globally beyond Europe and the United States to Asia and Australasia, affecting other disciplines including architecture, design and fashion. 

Freedom and Structure: Cubism and New Zealand Art 1930 – 1930 looks for the first time at the effect of Cubism on New Zealand painting, and reveals its impact on the work of early adopters John Weeks, Louise Henderson and Colin McCahon, and others including Melvin Day, Charles Tole and Wilfred Stanley Wallis. This exhibition explores the different ways these artists adapted the radical language of Cubism, and weaved it into their work in inventive ways. 

MTG Curator of Art Jess Mio says that Cubism marks an exciting shift in Western art history, following on from the invention of the camera, which could depict the world more accurately, quickly and cheaply than most artists. “So painters began to explore other possibilities beyond faithful representation, instead showing what the eye can’t see: subjects painted from multiple perspectives at once, objects broken down into their fundamental forms, colours altered at will, and more. 

“Because it was such an innovative and daring style, cubist art remains hugely popular. Anyone interested in seeing a radical break in thousands of years of visual tradition would enjoy this exhibition, along with students of art and history. It’s great to be able to bring these nationally significant, bold and energetic paintings to Hawke’s Bay,” Mio says. 

Curated by Julia Waite and toured by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Freedom and Structure features works from the collections of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Waikato Museum, The University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, The Hocken Library – University of Otago, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and private lenders.

It runs from 24 June to 12 November 2017 at MTG Hawke’s Bay, 1 Tennyson Street, Napier.


Image credit
French Bay, Colin McCahon, 1957
Courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust



Curator’s Floor Talk: Freedom and Structure
11am, Saturday 24 June
Curator Julia Waite from Auckland Art Gallery talks about this popular exhibition and the influence of Cubism on New Zealand painting. Price includes all day admission to MTG Hawke’s Bay. Adults $10, concessions $7.50, children under 15 free. No booking required.

Matariki Museum Open Day
10am – 5pm, Sunday 25 June
Spend the day at the Museum and help us celebrate Matariki, includes admission to Freedom and Structure.

Media contact
Jess Mio, Curator of Art, MTG Hawke’s Bay
06 833 9796

13 June 2017

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