MY CHOICE: Raewyne Johnson / January 2023
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MY CHOICE: Raewyne Johnson / January 2023

January 2023: Raewyne Johnson

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.

To kick off the new year, January’s My Choice has been selected by Raewyne Johnson, who after 35 years of involvement with the Sarjeant Gallery is leaving her role as Functions Coordinator to work on a casual basis. The image above is a work by John Beard of Raewyne, which is fitting given her connection to the Gallery and its collection.

Prior to her role at the Gallery, Raewyne worked as a full-time potter for 20 years. Given Raewyne’s involvement with the Gallery, it was a hard task to choose just six works for My Choice, but she says:

“These works reflect my love of the physicality and substance of material – of textures and three dimensionality, the use of other than traditional techniques which can be seen in my choice of these artworks. Many of these were made in the 80s which was a time when a number of artists had dispensed the constraints of working within a frame and were re-using, constructing and reconstructing, breathing new life into wood, fabric and other found materials.

My response to these particular works is very much on an emotional level; to the materials used, the subject matter and to a large extent the artists chosen, many of whom I am and have been privileged to know.”

Profile picture: John Beard, Raewyne, 1997 (1998/21/11).

See Raewyne’s selections on our Explore the Collection ‘My Choice Exhibition Series’ highlight here

Raewyne’s Choices:

Mervyn Williams, Organon, 1989 (1989/10/1)

“Printmaker and painter Mervyn Williams was so delighted in the abundance of weathered timber strewing Whanganui’s wild beaches when he was Artist-in Residence at Tyler Cottage in 1988, that he spent his time here creating a body of wooden relief works and sculptures; Organon was one of these that I love.”

Bing Dawe, The Wind came and Blew the Trees Over, 1975 (1980/17/2)

“Bing Dawe’s refined narrative piece The Wind came and blew the Trees over sits quietly in direct contrast to Williams’s rough-hewn work. It was made in response to a wild storm which swept through Canterbury in the 70s, felling and destroying vast tracts of trees in its wake.”

Warren Viscoe, The Taxidermist (2003/38/1)

“The Taxidermist by Warren Viscose refers to ornithologist Sir Walter Buller and talks about his drastic collection of many species of New Zealand birds in order to preserve examples in danger of becoming extinct; thus, exacerbating their very demise!”

Philip Trusttum, Cornflowers (from the ‘Seed Packet’ series), 1987 (X2014/1591)

“Philip Trusttum’s loose manipulated canvas was folded and sewn into shape and painted with images of flowers to depict a very large Cooper’s seed packet. Instructions for planting are on the reverse. In some instances, while hanging in his home, the works from this series became the useful repository for household shopping lists, bills and notes. Some of Trusttum’s works have entered Art Gallery collections still containing these secret deposits of ephemera!”

Don Driver, Duraband 3, 1986 (1987/3/3)

“Duraband (packing tape) is but one of an extraordinary range of recycled materials that sculptor and colourist Don Driver used to assemble or collage his often formally composed, innovative works many of which comment on our throw-away society.”

Don Peebles, “Canvas Relief – Accord, Two,” 1989 (1998/9/7) 

“Canvas Relief – Accord, Two is a small but exquisite example of the work of the late Don Peebles who was well known for his organic rhythmically folded constructions utilising unstretched canvases which often hang like lifelike gills or membranes.”

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