Wednesday, 26 July 2017 9:14pm
2016 Frances Hodgkins Fellow Miranda Parkes at the opening of her Hocken exhibition the merrier last week. Photo: Emma Allen.
Miranda Parkes’ tenure as the University’s Frances Hodgkins Fellow was unlike any other – as she juggled the birth of her daughter Olivia with the completion of a significant body of art.
Parkes’ exhibition the merrier opened at Hocken Collections last Thursday, transforming the normally white gallery into an immersive environment of humming colour.
The accomplished Christchurch artist held the 2016 Frances Hodgkins Fellowship – but pushed her Hocken exhibition out from the usual February date to July to accommodate both Olivia’s October 2016 arrival and an “ambitious vision” for the show.
"I have loved Dunedin for many years, as I feel like a parallel world of creative friends who all design their lives according to their own values and visions exists in Dunedin."
In the merrier, she combines painting, video, collage and installation with ideas relating to poetry and painterly abstraction, linked with themes of family, gender and motherhood.
“The show was designed specifically for the Hocken space,” she explains. “It works as a whole installation, which is more than the sum of its parts, although each part can work independently as well. I feel incredibly excited about it.”
Parkes says it was an honour to be the Frances Hodgkins Fellow – and that having the time to focus on one body of research was more mentally satisfying than shorter shows she has done.
“I had a giant year with my bouncing baby girl arriving during my tenure – a personal achievement to match the professional achievement of winning the fellowship!
“I have loved Dunedin for many years, as I feel like a parallel world of creative friends who all design their lives according to their own values and visions exists in Dunedin. I am inspired by the people I know there. The fellowship will just be the beginning of my connection with Dunedin, not the end!
For Parkes the highlight of the fellowship has been its outcome.
"the merrier alludes to a community vibe and this was certainly the case in the way the show came together as a team effort – something that matched my vision but I could never have manifested on my own."
“Putting together my Hocken exhibition, in particular working with the wonderful staff. Andrea Bell, my curator, was only appointed in February 2017, so I was very lucky that my delayed timing meant I have been able to work with her. Robyn Notman, Sharon Dell, Victoria France and John Chapman all had key roles in bringing the show together, as well as my own family and friends.
“the merrier alludes to a community vibe and this was certainly the case in the way the show came together as a team effort – something that matched my vision but I could never have manifested on my own. It was a really rewarding experience working with the Hocken!”
Parkes graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Canterbury in 2005, and since then has received numerous prestigious scholarships, prizes and residencies. She has exhibited widely mostly in New Zealand, but more recently overseas, including in London, Shanghai and Sydney.
The remainder of the year will see her continue to create – with a show planned for Christchurch’s Jonathan Smart Gallery remixing some of her Fellowship work.
She is also looking at some international residencies designed for mothers – which are based on the concept that a child can lend a generative and positive element to life as an artist – rather than the old idea that family is an obstacle to working.
Miranda Parkes: the merrier
21 Jul to 28 Oct 2017, 10am to 5pm, Mon to Sat
Hocken Collections 90 Anzac Ave, Dunedin