My Choice: A New Exhibition Series / 18 May – 25 Aug 2019
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My Choice: A New Exhibition Series / 18 May – 25 Aug 2019

My Choice is an exhibition series offering a unique and fresh perspective on the Sarjeant collection.  Presented in a completely new format My Choice is a series of virtual exhibitions viewable online.  Each month a member of our community is invited to browse ‘Explore the Collection’, our online collection portal, and select six of their favourite artworks from the collection which hold a special meaning or significance to them.

Whanganui’s Mayor Hamish McDouall is the first invited guest and, to launch the series, his selection is on display here in the Gallery until 25th August, as well as online. Hamish was born and raised in Whanganui and following his career as a lawyer, not to mention having achieved fame for winning both Sale of the Century and Mastermind as well as authoring a number of books, Hamish was elected as a Whanganui District Councillor in 2010 and became Mayor of Whanganui in 2016.  He has been a long-time supporter of the Sarjeant Gallery and the Gallery’s collection and we are delighted he is able to launch this series.

Hamish says “Since I came back to Whanganui in 2008 the Sarjeant has been a real totem for my family. We have loved seeing more and more of the collection and to be able to look through the sculpture and painting store and select works that resonate was a real excitement for me.”

“Two years ago I was thinking I should find a way to celebrate things I loved about Whanganui and I was joking around about selecting 50 favourite paintings and so I approached the Sarjeant to see if I could make a selection for an exhibition. And here it is! I wish I could have had a choice of 100 artworks on display.”

Hamish’s diverse selection reflects aspects of his personal history: he once owned a cat by the same name as Catherine Moore’s sculpture Sailor, the Cat; his love of travel is evident in The Towers of San Gimignano by A Micheli; and it’s clear he has a close connection with Whanganui through his childhood memory of shopping trips to Whanganui’s iconic department store London Town. Mark Braunias’s exuberant 2008 painting London Town draws its imagery from advertising images in the archives of the now defunct department store and echoes the Mayor’s memories.

The next exhibition in the series will be available to view on the Gallery website from September 2019.

Jennifer Taylor Moore
Curator of Collections

My Choice 18 May – 25 August 2019: Hamish McDouall, Mayor of Whanganui

Click on an image to see further details about the work and artist, and view a large version.

London Town – Mark Braunias

“Every kid who grew up in Whanganui in the 1970s and 1980s knew London Town. The only place with an escalator; it was our biggest department store. It was always exciting to go there. Mark Braunias captures that excitement with his incredible painting which could be the flag of Whanganui if it was made into canvas.”

The Sarjeant Gallery, Back View – Laurence Aberhart

“Laurence Aberhart seems to be able to find the mystery and magic in every building. He’s taken a photograph of the back side of the Sarjeant and produced something almost Californian. This is a record of how the building has stood for 100 years and when the new wing is built we won’t be able to see this view anymore.”

Sailor, the cat. – Catherine Moore

“I don’t know anything about the artist Catherine Moore but she has created something beautiful out of a piece of stone. It is utterly compelling. It helps that we had a cat called Sailor.”

The Towers of San Gimignano – A Micheli

“When you first look at this painting, you think it might be New York or Chicago but it’s San Gimignano in Italy. I haven’t been to Italy yet but a painting like this makes me want to go directly to the travel office.”

Photographer. 1968 – Michael Illingworth

“Some people aren’t fans of Michael Illingworth’s funny humans but I like how he captures how awkward we are. I particularly like the camera staring at the viewer, capturing how odd we look. The ‘photographer’ in this painting is also the viewer, looking back at you.”

Panel No. 2 – John Scott

“I saw this when I was taken through the painting store at the Sarjeant and it was utterly compelling. It looked like a piece of sheet metal, like the side of a welded metal shipping container but it is canvas and paint. I love the trompe-l’oeil effect which creates the optical illusion.”

Rehua – Alastair Galbraith

“I knew Alastair a little bit in Dunedin when he was part of a band called The Rip which is still one of my favourites. The next time I encountered him he was in Whanganui as the artist in residence at Tylee Cottage doing amazing things. He is an unsung hero of alternative art in all its forms.”

A Wellington Suburb – Roland Hipkins

“Even though it’s an ordinary suburban Wellington landscape I find this really entrancing. Whether it’s Wilton or Wadestown or Kelburn I keep trying to fit the painting into what I know of Wellington.”

Past Exhibitions 2019