Rudolf Gopas is a singular figure in twentieth century New Zealand art. He came to us from a European background with all its Expressionist inheritance; and his influence, particularly as a teacher, has been considerable, his own work as an artist without compromise.
The comprehensive retrospective of this artist's work mounted by the enterprising Govett-Brewster Gallery has occasioned here an article by Michael Dunn, who himself came under the aegis of Gopas at the Ilam Art School in Christchurch.
If Gopas brought traditions of Europe to the South Pacific, Gordon Walters's developed related artistic tenets into a New Zealand style, incorporating parallel Polynesian ethnic art and design. Walters's retrospective, arranged by the Auckland City Art Gallery, receives comment in a piece by Leonard Bell.
Earlier periods of painting in this issue are covered by two pieces of research. The first, by Roger Blackley, looks at the nineteenth century painter John Guise Mitford, assessing the contribution of an idiosyncratic artist to the early colony. The second, by Anne Kirker, examines the work of T. A. McCormack, an artist who throughout the 'thirties and 'forties refused to pay undue obeisance to Europe - if anything looking to the Orient to temper his watercolour paintings.
On the contemporary scene, four shorter articles highlight the work of four women artists.
Anne Noble's Wanganui exhibition, in a series of strikingly atmospheric photographs, presented facets of this most legend-enshrouded of the country's waterways. Sheridan Keith examines this important show held at Space photographic gallery.
Diana Lee-Gobbit's assemblages, shown at Room Service, are very much the progeny of commercial processes of the eighties, combining neon and plastic tp create a space-age parallel to some of the later 'galactic' works of Gopas. Diana Bagnall looks at Lee-Gobbit's work; and Barbara Strathdee writes on the fantastic installations of Debra Bustin, which exuberantly build their ideas and forms on processes of chance and discovery.
Willa Tradim rounds out the contemporary section with a short article on Stephanie Sheenan, whose colourful and bizarre show at Room Service brought theatre into the sphere of the gallery opening.
As Cheryll Sotheran comments in her Exhibitions column, there is now no shortage of gallery space in Auckland at least. The major piece on art spaces in this issue is one by the Auckland City Art Gallery's director Rodney Wilson, examining the Gallery's continuing reconstruction.
Both galleries and collections can be very personal affairs. In the first of a series on dealer galleries Rosemary Hemmings looks at Auckland's Portfolio Gallery who specialise in original graphic art. Campbell Smith, in his piece on the Prospect Collection, points to an adventure in 'artpooling' that may recall ideas originally propounded in this journal by Ernest Smith in his days as director of the Auckland City Art Gallery.
Finally, to complement the Portfolio article, there is a short piece on the Atelier - a thriving print workshop run by the Auckland artist Graeme Cornwall.