Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Hocken to tour works by Frances Hodgkins Fellow Kushana Bush

Clocktower at sunset 

Wednesday 22 February 2012 12:32pm

Kushana Bush. Kushana Bush, Pieta, 2011, gouache and pencil on paper, 760 x 560mm. Hocken Collections, Dunedin.

In an unprecedented move, the University of Otago’s Hocken Library will take works by 2012 Frances Hodgkins Fellow Kushana Bush on a national tour that will include the Pah Homestead TSB Wallace Arts Centre in Auckland.

The Exhibition, All Things to All Men (31 recent gouaches by Kushana Bush) will open at the Hocken Gallery in Anzac Ave this coming Friday (February 25), and at the Pah Homestead TSB Wallace Arts Centre, Auckland, on 23 April. Dates of other venues are still to be confirmed.

Curator of Pictorial Collections Natalie Poland says the series of delicate gouaches (so-named due to the type of paint that is used) in this exhibition were all created last year, during Bush’s tenure as the 2011 Frances Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago.

Bush was only the second Dunedin-based artist to become a Fellow since the award’s inception in 1966. Other recipients of the Fellowship include artists Grahame Sydney, Michael Smither, Shane Cotton and Seraphine Pick – all of whom have gone on to become well-known New Zealand artists.

All Things to All Men is Kushana Bush’s first, solo (single-artist) exhibition at a public gallery.

“The exhibition includes three of the largest Bush has ever painted, with three triptych works measuring more than 1.5 metres wide. One of these works is Throat of Summer that shows people gardening and arranging flowers surrounded by an array of fanciful ceramic pots,” says Ms Poland.

“This is an amazing feat considering the very time consuming method of applying gouache that requires a high degree of precision. Any mistake cannot be erased once the paint has dried but must be worked around.”

Bush paints exclusively with gouache (pronounced ‘gwash’), a medium first used in the 13th century in illuminated manuscripts and Persian miniature art. It is a water-based paint which has either an extremely high level of pigmentation or a chalk-like substance suspended in it. Gouache has an opaque character and, depending on the colour used, can appear very vibrant.

The title of Bush’s first solo exhibition in a public gallery comes from the following passage in the Bible, playfully proposes that Bush’s amusing and imaginative figure paintings might satisfy everybody’s needs: To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

“Often captured in deliberately awkward or sexually intimate poses, her ordinary folk reveal a wealth of human sensibilities and spiritualties. The everyday activities that Bush’s figures perform invariably take on a ritual-like aspect that suggests proximity between everyday life and the spiritual realm,” she says.

For further information, contact

Natalie Poland,
Curator of Pictorial Collections
Hocken Collections
Tel 64 3 479 5600

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

Electronic addresses (including email accounts, instant messaging services, or telephone accounts) published on this page are for the sole purpose of contact with the individuals concerned, in their capacity as officers, employees or students of the University of Otago, or their respective organisation. Publication of any such electronic address is not to be taken as consent to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages by the address holder.