About Paul Melser

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So far Paul Melser has created 15 blog entries.

Art, the Rubber Duck and Love

Three events coincided recently which raised the perennial question of ‘What is Art?’. The first was the death at age 89 of the renowned art theorist and philosopher Arthur Danto in October; the second was the appearance in news media of an oversize rubber duck which had so far visited 14 international ports (including Auckland in 2011); the third was a very amusing interview with Charles Firth who, as director of the Sydney Museum of Words convened an exhibition of ‘donated’ words. Charles Firth

Look at us Now. Tirohia Mai. National Library

Posters at Look at us Now Two of the posters on one wall recalling the poster campaign through the 120 year period. The Katherine Mansfield poster on the right claims that behind every great woman is a man who tried to stop her. Look at us Now. Tirohia Mai is an exhibition about the slow, 120 year, progress in NZ towards gender equality.  On my way back from Wellington on the train after seeing this exhibition and a couple of others, I read

Shane Cotton, The Hanging Sky

Head #!?$ 2009 – 2012, acrylic on linen The Hanging Sky is a survey exhibition of the work of one of the country’s most critically acclaimed artists. It is currently showing at the City Gallery Wellington having already been seen in Christchurch and Melbourne. The exhibition occupies all four galleries on the ground floor of the City Gallery. Shane Cotton is a prolific painter who has concentrated on the careful exploration of particular personal modes of expression. His work is immediately identifiable even


An exhibition held at Aratoi in 2006. ‘Difference’ is a group of 24 jugs each about 20cm tall displayed together. The jugs were made at the same time, with identical materials, and fired in a single firing of the wood kiln. The varying glaze effects come from wood ash floating through the kiln. The passage of the ash is affected by the particular position of the jug in the kiln. Those that are directly in the path of the flame will be exposed to more

Dry Stone wall

Simon foreground, Gavin at rear At the suggestion of a stone wall builder friend – Gavin Dench – who is also a keen enthusiast for wood fired pots - I eventually decided to replace a rather dilapidated wire fence near the house with a stone wall built from stones collected from this property.  If I had known at commencement what sort of task it turned out to be I probably would not have started.  Having built it now, I have absolutely no regrets

Warhol Immortal at Te Papa

Reigning Queens: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.1985 The exhibition of Andy Warhol works at Te Papa promised a new look at this controversial artist. Curator Sarah Farrar is quoted by the Dominion as saying: “Warhol’s such a popular icon, but we have a one dimensional idea of him”. She hopes that this show will change people’s views by emphasising Warhol’s obsession with people. These comments were made in the context of an article that featured his images of Prince, Sylvester Stallone,

Build Your Altar To This Moment

Build Your Altar To This Moment Sheilah Wilson at Enjoy Gallery Wellington Frances and I attended our friend Sheilah Wilson’s opening at Enjoy Gallery, Cuba St, last Wednesday 12 June 2013.  Enjoy is Wellington’s experimental exhibition space. Sheilah Wilson opening - Frances centre, Sheilah next right The gallery was a photographic studio in the late 19th and early 20th century. Sheilah explored this history through the work of the exhibition.  She became aware of a collection of glass plate negatives that were found in

It’s Not the Thing, It’s How

Barry Brickell’s mantra is “It’s not the thing it’s how”. What he means is that the materials the object is made from, the way it is made and the technology used, contain the object’s essence and meaning much more powerfully than whatever it is trying to represent. Brickell’s work uses clay from his own property, processed on site, made into objects with age-old methods and fired in kilns using wood or coal. His sculptures are made from and refer to the landscape, the living world

The Crystal Chain Gang: Fancy Fools Flight

Cast glass by Jim Dennison and Leanne Williams. At Aratoi until 17 March 2013 The decanters as originally displayed in the Sarjeant Gallery in Wanganui ‘Fancy Fools Flight’ is Martinborough glass artists Jim Dennison and Leanne Williams touring exhibition.  They call themselves and their workshop / studio ‘The Crystal Chain Gang’.  The exhibition has been shown in Auckland at Objectspace and Piece Gallery, at the Sarjeant Gallery Wanganui, at Pataka in Porirua, in Nelson at the Suter and now at Aratoi.  The Sarjeant

The State of Art in Wairarapa

The New Year seems a good time to review the health of art in the Wairarapa. This is particularly opportune given the decisions pending about a new local government grouping with, or separate from, Wellington.  Wellington prides itself on being the cultural capital of the country. If the Wellington region as a whole were the subject of this review, it would get a resounding tick for regional cultural policies effectively encouraging a diverse and healthy art scene.  Wairarapa, taken in isolation, hardly achieves a pass