A coup for Nelson

Last updated 15:27 12/03/2014
Between No 7
SHAPED CANVASES: Gallery manager Leonie Hall stands in front of works by Max Gimblett at Craig Potton Gallery + Store.

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It is not often that Nelson art lovers get to see works by an internationally renowned artist close up, let alone with the option to purchase them.

Craig Potton Gallery + Store are currently showing a small range of works by Auckland born and now New York-based artist Max Gimblett.

Based in New York since 1972, Gimblett's paintings have incorporated influences and philosophies based on abstract expressionism, modernism, eastern and western spiritual beliefs, jungian psychology and ancient cultures.

In 2009 Gimblett became one of the first New Zealand artists to have an artwork exhibited in the Guggenheim in New York.

Lion (1985) was included in an exhibition titled The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989.

The piece hung next to works by international artists such as Robert Motherwell, James Whistler, Robert Rauschenberg, Nam June Paik, John Cage and Yoko Ono and is now part of the museum's permanent collection.

His international significance was further cemented with his inclusion in another major exhibition at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2011.

Craig Potton sourced the works from Gimblett who is a friend and through Gimblett's dealer in Auckland, the Gow /Langsford Gallery.

"Max has work in the Suter collection both acquired and gifted," says Potton.

"He has also had successful painting workshops at local schools including in Golden Bay."

Potton is hoping to get Gimblett back to Nelson in 2015 on his New Zealand visit.

Although based in New York, Gimblett has continued to exhibit regularly there and in New Zealand.

This mix of cultures and aesthetics is evident in his work, which consists largely of object based paintings. Gimblett uses shaped canvases, the most recognised being the quatrefoil which incorporates a multiplicity of meanings, dating back to pre-Christian times. It is also found in both Western and Eastern religions symbolising such objects as a rose, window, cross and lotus.

"The quatrefoils are works that turn in on themselves with no particular edges or corners. We chose these particular ones from a range of Max's works because we loved them," says Potton. "They are full of great energy, a mix of control and wild energy. It's harder to pull this off than most realise. Max is a master at it and these are brilliant examples in my opinion."

Gallery manager Leonie Hall has done a complete reshuffle of works in the gallery to accommodate Gimblett's work. "We have just completed an entire gallery re-hang, including Craig's iconic photographs, and created an eye-catching front window - a collaboration of sorts between Craig Potton and myself," says Hall.

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Max Gimblett, Craig Potton Gallery + Store, 255 Hardy St, Nelson.

- Nelson

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