MY CHOICE: James Hope / January 2021
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MY CHOICE: James Hope / January 2021

Each month a member of our community is invited to browse our online collection and select six of their favourite artworks. Each ‘My Choice’ selection, together with personal responses to the works, will be available to view on the Sarjeant Gallery website for one month at a time. The January 2021 My Choice has been selected by James Hope and is available to view until 31 January 2021.

James is a curator and writer that has been living in Whanganui since October 2019. He was formerly Assistant Curator at the Sarjeant Gallery, on a fixed-term contract covering maternity leave. Prior to this, he was an exhibitions attendant at the New Zealand pavilion at the 2019 La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy. In 2018, he was the Creative NZ Toi Aotearoa Curatorial Intern at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. He has also worked at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū for a number of years in his hometown. As of the time of writing, he does not know what his next move will be.


My Choice January 2021: James Hope, curator and writer.

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

James Fraser Scott – 'Loading Gondolas, Venice'

“There is no mistaking the location of this scene. When I was in Venice in 2019 as an exhbition attendant for the Venice Biennale, it was the height of Summer – hot and humid. This scene instantly evokes those memories: the hazy light, the reflections on the water, the terracotta and white of the buildings, the multitude of people crossing the bridge. It was a fantastic six weeks spent there, and I’m yearning to go back.”

Bill Hammond – 'Volcano Cafe'

“The Volcano Cafe and Lava Bar were two iconic institutions in the port town of Lytellton, on the other side of the Port Hills from Christchurch. I remember enjoying some nachos at the cafe on occasion. Standing on the corner of the town’s main street, their blue and yellow facades were some of the best known landmarks in the town. Unfortunately they had to be torn down after the earthquakes. Bill Hammond was a frequent patron at the Lava Bar and contributed artwork to the interior decor.”

Andrew Ross – 'Tawa Street 17/3/2009'

“I’ve spent a bit of time in Gonville and this scene is familiar as I’ve driven down Tawa street quite often. On the left you can see the Gonville pool that has fallen into disrepair, next to it is the former Gonville town hall and on the right is the Moutoa Masonic lodge. This image is a record of a vibrant urban life that sadly no longer exists, although I hear there are good things planned for the former pool building.”

Ann Verdcourt – 'Still life'

“I didn’t expect to learn so much about ceramics when I moved to Whanganui, but through visiting Rick Rudd’s excellent Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics, meeting the local potters and curating an object-based exhibition myself, I’ve gained an appreciation for the artform and made a move towards starting a ceramics collection of my own. This work was a fixture of workday life, as it sat in the office near a colleague’s desk. I love the simplicity of form and muted colours of this work and the other similar still life works by Ann in the collection, that take inspiration from the painter Giorgio Morandi. Ann throws humorous wildcards into these works too, such as adding a juice box to the arrangement.”

Matt Pine – 'Circle Segment No. 3'

“There are a large number of works on paper by Matt Pine in the Sarjeant’s collection and through research I’ve learned that Matt ran a gallery for a number of years in the early 2000s that was just around the corner from Sarjeant on the Quay. I am a fan of his works in steel and this work reminds me of a sculpture that also uses semi-circular elements in the Christchurch Art Gallery’s collection.”

'Edith Collier outside'

“Edith Collier exerts a presence in this city, in street art, street names and the largest collection of her work located anywhere, at the Sarjeant. I’ve learnt a lot about Edith Collier during my time in Whanganui. Going through the archives of the Edith Collier Trust and transcribing postcards written from and to her was illuminating. Having been given this context, this candid photograph makes me feel like I’m witnessing someone I know somewhat.”

Past exhibitions 2021