New Zealand artists shine at Melbourne Art Fair
Melbourne Art Fair 2012
Royal Exhibition Building
Carlton Gardens, Melbourne
The Australian media has been upset about the early Olympic medal performance of the country's athletes. They were lagging behind all the big boys, even if they were doing reasonably well in the medals per head of population category. Even so, New Zealand was always just ahead.
And Australian art followers must have felt the same at the Melbourne Art Fair held over five days last week at the vast Royal Exhibition Building.
The quality of the New Zealand work was exceptional and the presence of our dozen New Zealand galleries there providing some of the show's real highlights.
More than 900 artists had work in nearly 100 national and international galleries, plus project spaces and several off-site galleries. They represented artists from around the globe: New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Canada, America and Europe.
The New Zealand galleries were Bartley and Company, Brett McDowell, Fox Jensen, Gow Langsford, RH Gallery, Starkwhite, The Physics Room, Tim Melville and Two Rooms. The off-site galleries consisted of Hopkinson Cundy, Michael Lett and Robert Heald.
Several Australian galleries also showed work by New Zealand artists. Martin Browne Contemporary had one day devoted to new large landscapes by Neil Frazer, as well as showing several of Jim Coopers' ceramic figures. Watters Gallery had a number of works by Euan McLeod.
New Zealand galleries were showed a number of overseas artists, which made the New Zealand contingent seem very cosmopolitan.
Gow Langsford had several Damien Hirst prints and one of his large skull paintings. Fox Jensen showed a number of works by Callum Innes and Helmut Federle, while Two Rooms exhibited Sarah Lucas and Cornelia Parker.
There were two impressive solo shows of New Zealand artists, one at the Tim Melville gallery of new photographic portraits by Roberta Thornley, while RH Gallery showed recent works by Darryn George.
Prices ranged from just a few hundred dollars up to several hundred thousand, with large flower works by Tim McGuire selling for $200,000 at Tolarno Galleries.
Sales appeared to be uneven, with some galleries awash with red spots, while others languished. But all New Zealand galleries did some business and created a plenty of interest.