Pieces of Eight

8 October 2010 - 30 January 2011

In the mid seventies the noted Australian art writer and expatriate New Zealander Professor Patrick A. E. Hutchings, wrote an influential article ‘Eight New Zealand Abstract Painters’, which signalled an important shift in attitudes towards New Zealand abstract art. This text for the prestigious magazine Art International not only put contemporary New Zealand art on the international map; it also clearly showed that this art community was growing in confidence and sophistication.  Hutchings sought to capture both the rise of this ‘new school’ of painters, and demonstrate that this international perspective had a long lineage, particularly through the work of pre-eminent artists such as Milan Mrkusich, Don Peebles and Gordon Walters. 

Pieces of Eight brings together a number of the artists that Hutchings discusses in this significant piece of writing.  Timed to coincide with DRIVER:’71–’75, it is to be hoped that this 'boutique' exhibition will provide additional contextual gravitas to the larger survey exhibition. Pieces of Eight is designed to reveal how Driver was operating as part of a larger art discourse, but doing so through his own aesthetic language. This tightly focussed selection of works, which also includes Ray Thorburn and Ralph Hotere, aims to provide audiences with a greater sense of this central moment in New Zealand art history and also the nuances of high modernism.

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