NUDE is an important event in the Wellington arts calendar. Matt Gauldie, the official artist for the New Zealand Army and a long time member of the NZAFA council, is the curator of the NUDE exhibition. He has worked with the Academy Galleries on what has been for him a burning ambition to create this opportunity for New Zealand artists to make a collective statement about their vision of the nude.
The nude is traditionally the most difficult of all art subjects and throughout history has created controversy. Matt says the upcoming NUDE exhibition is no exception.
Alongside Academy members six of New Zealand's top figurative artists, Sandro Kopp, Simon Morse, Marian Muggeridge, Miss Mica Still, Freeman White, and Matt Gauldie, have each contributed four works as guest artists. Also four nudes from the late Eugene Fancott are included with these invited artists plus some quite haunting cross gender nudes from Siren Deluxe.  
“It’s frequently quoted that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this exhibition confronts our ideas of beauty. In NUDE you will see nudes that leave you amazed by their sheer beauty, nudes that will surprise you and nudes that may well shock you, there are some remarkable images and structures.
“In Eugene Fancott’s work, dating from the 1940s we bring you a sense of continuity to the tradition of nude paintings in New Zealand. Ironically, one of Eugene’s works, Dora as Venus, was rejected from a New Zealand National Gallery exhibition in 1958 because the model’s legs were calculated to be more than three centimeters apart, even though she was viewed sideways, it was deemed technically obscene,” Matt said.
The NUDE exhibition has drawn many works from the Academy’s artist members. Jeanne Macaskill who last month was given the NZAFA Governor General's Art Award has entered a stunning virtuoso painting of a nude; a radical departure from Jeanne’s well known abstract paintings. Siren Deluxe has produced two haunting images of the male nude that continue to challenge and reorient the viewer. Siren works at the cutting edge of human sexuality. Paul Forrest’s crucifixion figure will set you thinking.

Curator’s notes  

Mankind’s earliest art from cave paintings depicts the human form. Sometimes these early paintings and sculptures are quite literal, but just as often are surprisingly conceptual. The human form has not only been among our oldest known art interests but also the most challenging. Over the last fifty thousand years of art the human form has evoked an astonishingly broad spectrum of ideas.
The Academy Galleries NUDE exhibition continues the tradition of exploration of ideas around the human body, encompassing a range of approaches. You will find much here to interest you, challenge you and to contemplate. The NUDE exhibition will surprise you with the depth of talent in figurative art that has quietly thrived in Wellington. Matt Gauldie

Invited artists

Matt Gauldie is well known to many New Zealanders as the official Army Artist. Matt brings to the nude his particular ability to imbue the image with a sense of a person, rather than a painting. Matt’s nudes are bared in more senses than simply being naked. It is hard to come away from one of Matt’s paintings without the feeling that you have actually met the individual in the painting.
Sandro Kopp is better known in Hollywood than in New Zealand. Sandro features in the Hollywood gossip columns as Tilda Swinton’s boyfriend. He is a formidable artist and is much in demand among the Hollywood A-list as a portrait painter. Google “Sandro Kopp” for his significant web presence as a Hollywood celebrity, in addition to his role as a painter. Sandro’s works include Ta Moko and Nude with Sunglasses.
Simon Morse is described on the net as a ‘comic book genius’. He is another New Zealand artist better known in the USA and Japan than he is in New Zealand. A Google search for Simon Morse will introduce you to the vast international otherworld of the adult comic book. Simon’s anti-heroine
Chopper Chick is already making the collector's lists for the serious comic aficionados.
Marian Muggeridge is well-known as a painter of what it means to be a Wellingtonian. Marian explores who we are in terms of making us look at our surroundings and ourselves. Marian brings to the nude her sense of the community that we are in Wellington, more so than anywhere else in New Zealand.
Miss Mica Still has a quite different, animal-orientated, vision to the classic nude. Her sharp contemporary paintings recall the mediaeval bestiaries in which the images of animals reflect the foibles and fears of the human world. Roll over Reynard the Fox; nothing is quite what it seems in Mica’s world of animal humans
Freeman White brings a New Zealand perspective to his search for a modern synthesis of the vision and technique that he so much admires in the great humanist painters of Holland. Freeman has rapidly built up a following of art collectors in New Zealand. Freeman’s lush paintwork and sharp draughtsmanship bring a sense of completeness to his nudes.


September 2009

view highlights of the exhibition here....>

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