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Hocken collection offers a creative journey through time

Monday 4 December 2017 4:42pm

Auto Portrait with 12 disciples
Greg Semu, Auto-portrait with Twelve Disciples, 2010/2011, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago, 2011/78

From the works of botanists and surveyors, to a C.F. Goldie portrait and Ralph Hotere’s expressive drawings created decades later, the evolution of one of New Zealand’s largest art collections will soon be displayed to the public.
CONTINUITY & CHANGE: The Hocken’s art across time’ opens this month at the University of Otago’s Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena.
The exhibition reflects on the evolution of the Hocken’s art collection from its early beginnings through to the present day and includes work by Rita Angus, Graham Fletcher, Jeffrey Harris, Eileen Mayo, Colin McCahon, Fiona Pardington, Neil Pardington, Greg Semu, Ann Shelton, Gordon Walters, and many more.
It is also a creative exploration of the interplay and interconnections between works of art contained within the collection.
The Hocken’s founding father, Dr Thomas Morland Hocken (1836-1910), primarily collected pictures based on their historical significance and for illustrative purposes, as a means for documenting life in New Zealand.
A large number of artworks included in the original pictures collection were created by surveyors, draughtsmen and botanists – many of whom would not regard themselves as artists, but whose works provide a window into New Zealand’s cultural imagination at the turn of the twentieth century.
This approach to collecting pictures continued until the 1950s, when the Hocken’s art collection was transformed by progressive thinkers, artists, writers and cultural benefactors; Colin McCahon, Rodney Kennedy, Charles Brasch, Charlton and Mona Edgar introduced modern and contemporary New Zealand artworks into the collection.
The collection’s development, interpretation, reputation and care was also enhanced and championed by forward thinking professional art curators on the staff, such as art historian Gordon H. Brown.
A decade or so later, the establishment of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship provided an opportunity to collect new work by contemporary New Zealand artists who developed a connection with Dunedin and the University of Otago through the artist residency programme.
As a tribute to the significance of the fellowship and its continued importance, this exhibition is hung over the colour palette developed by 2016 Frances Hodgkins Fellow Miranda Parkes for her exhibition ‘the merrier’, with permission from the artist.
Today, the Hocken’s art collection is rich and culturally diverse in its holdings of historical, modern and contemporary art, and with more than 17,000 artworks it is one of the largest in New Zealand.
Furthermore, more than 2 million photographs (ranging from historical to contemporary lens-based imagery) add to the Hocken’s greater pictorial collection, which progresses through moments of continuity and change.
CONTINUITY & CHANGE: The Hocken’s art across time’ will be showing at Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, 90 Anzac Ave, Dunedin, from 9 December 2017 – 27 January 2018. The exhibition will be open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

For more information, and further images, please contact:

Robyn Notman
Head Curator - Pictorial Collections
Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena
Tel: +64 3 479 5600
Andrea Bell
Curator of Art - Pictorial Collections
Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena
Tel: +64 3 479 9020

About the Hocken

Established in 1910, the Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena celebrates the histories, cultures and natural environments of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific and Antarctica with special emphasis on southern New Zealand.
The Hocken's Pictures Collection holds more than 17,000 artworks relating to New Zealand and the Pacific, dating from 18th century voyagers through to contemporary artists.

Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena website

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