The Blog Masters

Overthenet (OTN) have just made their 1500th posting. I congratulate Jim Barr & Mary Barr most sincerely. It is a remarkable achievement. Not only does it take discipline and stamina to sustain this output but they are almost a lone voice in the New Zealand art scene. Few others ask such important questions of art establishments and in such a prolonged way, most of us wouldn’t dare. Or, if we worked in a university or a civic art gallery, we probably wouldn’t be allowed even if we secretly agreed.

I started blogging just a few weeks before they began, if my memory serves me correctly, if not I apologise, and I am only just in reach of 600. My blogging stamina has seriously fallen off in recent months, I’m worn out, and going through a demoralised phase in my life so I particularly appreciate what they do. I haven’t taken a new photo for many months although I am trying to view this as an incubation period.

The posting that I have linked to today is one that they have chosen to mark the occasion of their 1500th. That is me on the left in this image taken more than 20 years ago. The photo is from the Barr’s extensive archives.

I have observed them building these archives since about 1975 or 76, when Jim was director of the Dowse and I had my first public gallery exhibition there. Don Driver was also exhibiting on that occasion.

PS the photo of the quail I took last year at Henderson House where I was artist-in-residence. I fed the quail and they became so tame that they even came inside, a practise I had to discourage quite promptly as two or three tried to take a shortcut to the outside and killed themselves on the window panes. There is always a member of the group, who stood up on a high perch, acting as a sentinel. This is one of those. Sometimes there were about 30 in the groups. We need more sentinels.

Don Driver at the Tauranga Art Gallery

Last Friday I was in Tauranga. Drove up there from New Plymouth, leaving at 11.30 am and arriving at a motel over the road from the Tauranga Art Gallery just before 5 and well in time for the opening. I drove up to Te Kuiti, turned right, looped over the north side of Rotorua. Tauranga, I am told, now has a larger population than Dunedin.

Don Driver was having a show in this new building. He lives in New Plymouth too but unfortunately was not well enough to attend the event.

There was also a selection of works from the BNZ art collection. Billy Apple spoke about the history of how this collection came about.

I liked the gallery. I saw it last when it was a handsome but empty BNZ building and the conversion had not yet begun. Many walls feel domestic in scale, and I particularly liked that and the donkey brown coloured walls too. The Drivers looked very relaxed on them I thought. It’s an Aalto colour but I don’t know the exact name although Richard Arlidge the director did, during the evening tell me but I’ve forgotten it I’m sorry. It’s similar to the much loved colour Diesel. Much loved in New Plymouth at least.

Ansel Adams used Forest Green and a Donkey Brown for the walls he exhibited on. I don’t think that photography is particularly enhanced by the white wall.

It was an excellent evening.

I’m glad that I was there.