Art Seen: March 30

Part of the ‘‘Margarita Robertson: 3.33.12’’ exhibition.
Part of the ‘‘Margarita Robertson: 3.33.12’’ exhibition.
‘‘Margarita Robertson: 3.33.12'' (Dunedin Public Art Gallery)

iD Fashion week might be over, but you can still experience the spectacle of a fashion show at Dunedin Public Art Gallery until April 17. ‘‘Margarita Robertson: 3.33.12'' emulates the vivacity of a live runway show in an exhibition of 12 looks from the private wardrobe of NOM*d designer Robertson.

For 33 years, Robertson has played a defining role in New Zealand fashion and NOM*d has grown to become one of Dunedin's most acclaimed fashion exports.

Entering the exhibition space, the viewer is confronted by 12 well-dressed manikins elevated on a metal runway. A backdrop composed of three large projections fills the wall behind the display, showing scenes from Paris, Tokyo and Dunedin, and the space is complete with the backstage sounds of a fashion show.

In the gallery space, however, the viewer has the opportunity to navigate Robertson's curated looks, and is able to find details that can easily be missed in a live show.

The looks include a number of early pieces from Comme des Garcons, John Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela and New Zealand fashion house Zambesi. NOM*d is also featured with a distinctive look that combines various collections.


Toroa (Clear) , by Mike Crawford.
Toroa (Clear) , by Mike Crawford.
‘‘Kohanga'', Mike Crawford (Milford Galleries Dunedin)

Milford Galleries is exhibiting a series of new works by glass artist Mike Crawford. Crawford is the former apprentice of Ann Robinson, who had a concurrent exhibition at Milford Galleries Queenstown.

Titled ‘‘Kohanga'', a Maori word for nest, the collection features vases and vessels shaped after the distinctive lines of native New Zealand birds. Kohanga can also mean homeland, and using these familiar avian shapes Crawford also presents symbols of New Zealand's history and nationhood.

The forms are suggestive and simplify the subject matter to angles and curves. Through careful design, however, Crawford is able to retain the distinctive features of each species, making the birds identifiable in their stylised form.

While the coloured glass produces distinct works, the most interesting features of the medium can be seen in the black and clear pieces.

Kumete Manu (Black) is a large bowl with wings wedged on two sides, a hooked head protruding from one end and long tail on the other. In black, the piece highlights the density of the cast glass and the slick opaque form almost looks like a moulded and polished rock.

On the other hand the uncoloured Toroa (Clear) or the royal albatross, reveals the fragility of the glass sculptures and shows off the finer features of the glasswork with a tightly curved head and neck.


Light on Things, by Joanna Margaret Paul.
Light on Things, by Joanna Margaret Paul.
‘‘Light on Things'', Joanna Margaret Paul (Brett McDowell)

‘‘Light On Things'' is an exhibition of paintings and drawings by the late artist Joanna Margaret Paul. Curated by Paul's son, Pascal Harris, the exhibition is a particularly intimate look at work by the celebrated New Zealand artist.

Paul was a prolific artist, poet and film-maker who is often recognised for her delicate drawings of everyday domestic life. During her lifetime Paul produced hundreds of images that were never exhibited, and thus each exhibition feels like a fleeting opportunity to peek into the artist's oeuvre.

Included in the exhibition is a series of large pencil and pastel drawings. Typical of Paul's work, they are simplistic delineations of objects that the artist found around her, from flowers to washing machines.

Other works are more suggestive of Paul's explorations in rendering light and form: Light on Things, which is placed at the centre of the gallery and lends its title to the exhibition, is a conscious explorative watercolour sketch of a vase, jug and mug with tonal light distinguishing the form of each object.

Similarly, On Roundness sees the artist explore the forms of a selection of curved household objects. Paul's work highlights the understated, ephemeral nature of everyday life. These selected works are further imbued with a sense of Harris' familial connection to the artist and ground the work in the realm of everyday, domestic family life.


-By Samantha McKegg 

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