Hotere remembered as 'approachable' artist

ROSA STUDHOLME
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013

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World-acclaimed Kiwi artist Ralph Hotere was remembered at Timaru's Aigantighe Art Gallery yesterday.

Hotere died peacefully in Dunedin on Sunday, aged 81.

Gallery director Fiona Ciaran knew Hotere personally. She met him in Dunedin, visiting him at his home while researching stained glass windows.

Although he was known to be shy, she had found him "very approachable".

"I simply went and knocked on the door and I explained what I was doing, and he said: ‘You better come in and have a cup of tea'.

"It was the start of a very long friendship.

"He was a very approachable but very private person. I respected that."

He was passionate about the environment, which he often poured into his art, she said.

"We will miss him."

Dr Ciaran said people connected Hotere's art because he was passionate and successfully combined art with political messages.

Hotere's paintings, sculptures and collaborations were dominated by the colour black and often used text. His art was recognised worldwide, she said.

"I have a movie director friend in Phoenix (USA) whom I visited in December and he proudly showed his collection of Ralph's work, so I can attest to his international popularity.

"And at Art Santa Fe four years ago, I saw a suite of work by artists who had all been inspired by Ralph's art work."

The Aigantighe has three works by Hotere in its collection: Drip Ping (1980), Les Saintes-Maries de la Mer (The Saint Marys of the Sea) (1982), and Les Saintes-Maries de la Mer (1986).

His art was popular, Dr Ciaran said.

"When we have them on exhibition, people find them to be quite fascinating, especially when they read the story behind the works."

The gallery is planning a Hotere exhibition in the next few months.

AIGANTIGHE ART GALLERY HOTERE COLLECTION Drip Ping (1980): Watercolour, acrylic and pencil on paper. Given to the Aigantighe Art Gallery by Dr William Glass and Barbara Fahey in memory of their son Matthew. Les Saintes-Maries de la Mer (The Saint Marys of the Sea) (1982): Mixed media on paper. It was bought by the gallery with funding from the George Sevicke Jones Trust and Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council in 1983. Les Saintes-Maries de la Mer (The Saint Marys of the Sea) (1986): Lithograph on paper (printer's proof) donated to the Aigantighe Art Gallery by Dr William Glass and Barbara Fahey in memory of their son Matthew.

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- The Timaru Herald

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