Aotearoa New Zealand 1917 1999
Down to the silver sea 1981-82
wooden box, galvanised iron, cotton flour bag, photographic reproduction, plastic doll leg
41.0 X 42.0 X 38.0 cm
I was very fortunate to meet Rosalie
PF I was very fortunate to meet Rosalie. I met Rosalie at a time when I had left teaching and was starting to make work myself, and had struggled with painting, which I was not happy with, and it wasn’t right for me.
And I met Rosalie and we just hit it off so well, and she immediately invited me down to her house, and to her studio, and this became a regular monthly event, and I used to really look forward to it, and I’d even take my own fledgling works down there, and Rosalie would give me a very severe but very wonderful crit., about work, and about what I was doing, and enormous encouragement, and it was as a result of seeing this piece, Down to the silver sea, which had been done in sort of a reverence or a sort of homage to James Mollison, reflecting the piece by Braque that the Gallery had tried to buy.
But after the brouhaha of the Blue poles purchase there was an embargo on certain works over a certain value, and this work which Mollison desperately wanted for the Gallery; Grand Nu by Braque, was denied him.
And Rosalie’s done this piece based on it; a collage, and it was that doll’s leg that she detached - the moment I saw that I knew I didn’t want to be a painter; I knew that I wanted to be involved with the placement of objects. It was the most delicately placed leg, just coming off that collage.
And suddenly the whole impetus in my art-making went from my shoulder down into my fingers, and I suddenly felt so liberated, and so alive to the sensibilities of touch, that the painting certainly didn’t show anything of.
So I’m thrilled that the piece has come back to the Gallery, because it was obviously meant to be there; it has so many references to, as you said, Rosalie and her work in the collection, the extraordinary collection that the Gallery holds, as well as the personal journey that I’ve come across through this work, and I’m really thrilled that it’s in the collection now, and it has those sort of personal references for me.