Banking on backing art
Christchurch-based merchant bank Murray & Co is exhibiting selected works by Canterbury artists at its new Hazeldean Business Park premises.
The Hazeldean site is Murray & Co's fourth since the firm left its Victoria St premises after the February 2011 earthquake.
Director Clare Murray said when the firm moved into its new offices she noticed all the wall space and saw an opportunity to offer it to Canterbury artists who had lost gallery or exhibit space because of the earthquakes in Christchurch.
"This opportunity will allow selected artists to have their work displayed to clients, associates and visitors to our offices.
"As a firm, we are really pleased to be contributing in one small way to the reinvigoration of the visual arts scene in what is currently a difficult environment for artists," she said.
The space will not serve as a gallery and there are no commissions or deals involved. There was no commercial benefit for the company in exhibiting the works, Murray said.
"We hope that these exhibitions will raise the profile of such artists, and while it is not a specific goal, this may well lead to sales for the featured artists."
Of the works exhibited in Murray & Co's offices, two pieces have sold so far.
"It is really just for our visitors and clients, and for the artists who bring in friends and family."
Some clients had expressed an interest in the works and Murray put them in contact with the artist or Simon Ogden, associate professor at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury, who is identifying and selecting most of the artworks. About 70 per cent of the artworks were by students at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts.
Ogden said the scarcity of exhibition space currently in Canterbury made this a particularly special opportunity for artists.
Murray said she, clients and staff derived real enjoyment from seeing the artworks in the building.
"Our visitors and our clients really like to talk about it. People respond to it."
The first in the Murray & Co Exhibitions Series comprises largely abstract works, including pieces by Rachael Dewhirst, Hannah Batty, Phoebe Walker, Ieetje Beets, Youngae Kim, Tim Middleton, Bronwyn Taylor, Tim Veling, Nicola Bourke, Tjalling de Vries and MikiNobu Komatsu.
Murray said she hoped to run three exhibitions a year, with the second to come in March.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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