Feast for fans of Dr Seuss

23:00, Oct 04 2010
Dr Suess
SEUSS FEVER: Curator Ron Epskamp lets a cat out of the bag while setting up The Art of Dr Suess at Woodville's Artmosphere Gallery.

If a giant cat wearing an oversized hat comes lurching towards you, don't be alarmed – Woodville has gone Seuss-crazy.

Dress-up competitions and poetry contests are being planned, a cafe is selling green eggs and ham, and local retailers are incorporating Seuss-like twists in preparation for exhibition The Art of Dr Seuss.

The exhibition, which includes 80 limited-edition artworks by Theodor Seuss Geisel, opens in Woodville today.

It is the first time the exhibition has been seen outside Auckland and Wellington, and has been brought to the Tararua town by Exhibitions Gallery of Fine Arts owner Ron Epskamp.

During the two weeks it is in Artmosphere Gallery, Mr Epskamp will be sleeping on-site with the precious art – and he couldn't be more excited.

"There would be nothing worse than hanging these and walking away and letting someone else have all the fun," Mr Epskamp said, surrounded by stacks of turtles and star-bellied sneetches.


He aimed to bring Seuss to small towns so everyone could share the magic of the artist's surreal world.

"To me the backbone of New Zealand has been the smaller towns, it really is, and there's something quite fantastic about it. It's just brilliant, everyone's excited."

As well as 40 well-known Seuss illustrations from his classic children's books, many of the paintings are from Seuss' "secret art" collection.

"What a lot of people don't know is that he considered himself an artist ... often he could end up painting all night. It was his way of relaxing. A lot of the work was social and political commentary, but it didn't come across as preachy. I think that's why he's so successful now."

Seuss only ever sold one of his paintings, called Raising Money for the Arts. A limited-edition lithograph print of this will be revealed for the first time tonight.

The Art of Dr Seuss is at Woodville's Artmosphere Gallery until October 16. Email entries for the all-ages Dr Seuss poem competition can be sent to library@tararuadc.govt.nz. Seuss lovers who want to win a dress-up contest should head to Artmosphere in their garb at 1pm on October 16.

The Manawatu Standard