Monday 7 July 2008
Last weekend I fell head over heels for this new work by Seraphine Pick, on show at Hamish McKay's. What I love about the work is that Pick seems to have stopped painting at exactly the right moment, leaving the work with a sense of undone-ness that matches beautifully with the precariously-clothed model: the bold streaks of dusty rose down the right-hand side of the canvas, the curls and wisps of brushwork on the nape of her neck, the light that pools under her chin. It's a lovely, sexy bit of painting.
Pick's girl reminded me of Raymond McIntyre's women with rosebud mouths - in particular, the McIntyre portrait reproduced on the cover of the first Art New Zealand. Perhaps she's the same young woman, brought forward 85 years .
One of my favourite works in Te Papa's collection is what I've always mentally called "the foxy young man" portrait (as with Rita Angus, I have a suspicion that when McIntyre painted other people he was always really painting himself).
The foxy young man in question (and I mean that, of course, in the vulpine manner, rather than the phwoaarr manner) is of course Edward McKnight Kauffer, the later-to-be-famous graphic artist, and like McIntyre, London-based expatriate.
Images from top:
Seraphine Pick, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2008, from the Hamish McKay Gallery website
Squitty little image of the cover of the first Art New Zealand, from the Art New Zealand website
Raymond McIntyre (1879-1933) Edward McKnight Kauffer, about 1915, oil paint on panel. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Gift of C Millan Thompson to mark the occasion of the retirement of the Director [of the National Art Gallery], S B Maclennan, 1968. From the Te Papa website.
E. McKnight Kauffer, (1890-1954), Soaring to success! Daily Herald - the early bird [Daily Herald] 1919, planographic colour lithograph, photolithograph. National Gallery of Australia. Gift of the estate of Garry Anderson. Accn No: NGA 97.641. From the National Gallery of Australia website.