What do you do?
M. Principal Quantity Survey in commercial construction
J. Policy Advisor in the state sector
Why do you go to galleries?
To connect with each other and art. We will generally make an outing each week to several local galleries along with brunch. We also venture regularly to Auckland, Wellington, or Dunedin for weekends which is great fun, exploring the galleries and seeing new works and shows in person.
Maintaining a unique and diverse contemporary collection is key for us so there is plenty of leg work that goes into exploring and challenging ourselves to look further afield than our immediate environment.
What was the first artwork that made an impact on you?
Frank Auger, an abstract painting we found at Home Gallery in Oamaru. It was our first work that wasn’t brought to fit the style of our home, but it was fun and happy. It was this work (and it is the earliest work we still have) that showed us that art could (and should) be a fun thing to live with, bringing joy and enrichment to our home.
If you could own any work of art, what would it be?
M. Without over-thinking it… Probably Bridget Riley, there was a show of her work here at Christchurch Art Gallery in 2017 which included ‘Aria’, a stripe painting, and the work ‘After the bridge of Courbevoie Geroges Seurat 1959’. I’m mad about colour and in particular – stripes.
J. A Roy Lichtenstein, it was ground-breaking at the time and I think his work I will always have intergenerational appeal.
What is the most enigmatic work of art in your collection?
A large Shane Cotton painting. It is striking, a giant bullseye with bold colours and imagery. For all of our readings of the work, the conversations and the connections we have made to the images and their stories, it largely remains beyond us. It is a work we love for its presence and aesthetic but as we live with it, it reveals more and more challenges.
Tell us about the one that got away?
Probably a Seraphine Pick work from 2009 or a Tony de Lautour ‘Headcount’ work, neither of which we have found alternatives for. We missed out because of indecision, timing or simply being committed to other works at the time.
We made the change from decorative paintings (generally antique / classic) to collecting contemporary works about 4 years ago and it has snowballed very quickly. We initially discovered that the true joy of living with an artwork was that it wasn’t just something to hang on a wall or to match an aesthetic, but rather was something that could provoke an emotion, or conversation. In time, we have collected to mark occasions and experiences that are connected to the acquisition of a particular work or our life in general.
Gift any work of art to your local museum – what would it be?
I think we’d be open to anything that was needed or had a place, we would prefer to offer a work that was sought out by the Gallery. That being said… there are a couple of Marie Le Lievre, Tony de Lautour or Rebecca Harris works that are unique, strong examples that would be great to see available in a public space so they could be appreciated by others.