Saturday, February 10, 2024

ART in little Oxford (NZ): a couple of wows!


Sunday is usually a quiet day at Gerolstein.  A little writing, a little racing, perhaps a visit from my dearest friends, Robin and Geraldine, for a bottle and a chat ... of an often horsey flavour ...  oh! how often have the corpses of those who 'run' harness racing in New Zealand strewn, pogniarded, my living room carpet (carried home from Afghanistan by my father ....)

But this Sunday was not quiet.  Firstly and foremostly, the day was needed to get our heads in order for the morrow, when the building we signed up for 27 February 2023 is scheduled to begin to rise from its concrete slab. A fortnight short of a year ..  more on this subject, at length, very soon. Illustrated.

Secondly, our neighbours, the adorable family Schad, were having a barbecue in honour of eldest son Lloyd (who used, once, to be our boy farm-helper; now succeeded by his younger brothers) and his new bride. Alas, bride and groom clearly had a long wedding night, for after an hour they hadn't yet appeared ... and we had to go to .. but the kids (whose?) were having a ball in the hay ..

Thirdly. I don't go much to galleries, museums, art shows etc, any more. Let's face it, I don't go anywhere that requires walking or, worse, standing around much any more. We went to the Christchurch Art Show last year, to support a couple of friends, in a horrid space called Wigwam or Teepee. Never again. The quality of the art was, to be polite, hugely uneven; the judging ludicrous ...

How dare I? Well, in my time, I have been a newspaper, radio, TV etc critic and writer (mostly in England, but also Europe, Australia) not only of theatre, opera, music, restaurants but .. yes! of art. My home is decorated with paintings from the 18th to the 21st century, from wholly figurative to all but. My most recent purchases were from Canterbury artist Carol Holland a couple of years ago. 

Well, today we went to a small (hurrah!) exhibition mounted at the Oxford Art Gallery. In one small room, the Oxford people had gathered together a small (chosen) selection of mostly technically assured and in a couple of cases, truly eye-catching paintings and sculptures. No need to wade through the extraneous paid-for dross at the Canterbury Art Show.

And they served me chardonnay and found me a loo ... it was all so much friendlier. Too many speeches, but hey! there always are.  OK so each of the three judges awarded a Merit Prize. I wouldn't have picked them, myself ... a coaster mat design of flowers, a photographic landscape, and a very neat depiction of automobile parts with reflection ..

For me, there were two items way above the rest. One got the supreme award. (And sold instantly!)

I told the painter it recalled the waters of Zürich to me. She just grinned conspiratorily. I know she's never been to Zürich. But I have ...

The other was a 'sculpture' and was in a class of its own. If I were 30 or 40, instead of 80, I'd have forked out the $7k asking price. This is Serious Art ...  

Bother the Wooden Horse of Troy, this was the more like 'Le Cheval de bronze'. What else is there to say.

Anyway, home now ... oh milord, TOMORROW! (as Andrea McArdle once yodelled)

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