Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Light touch

When we visited Auckland a month or so ago, we stayed at Bethell’s Beach where we found an instantly recognizable landscape. We knew it from the Don Binney paintings we had seen over the years. It’s a mixed blessing when an artist captures the spirit of a place. It’s hard to drive through Central Otago without Michael Smither at your shoulder or through Hawke’s Bay without Rita Angus and impossible to be on the cliffs at Murawai without seeing the Tau cross of McCahon or Moby Dick wallowing west of the surf. Iconic landscapes are in a cycle of invention and reinvention – Shane Cotton has more recently made us see the low-slung hills around Palmerston North in a new light. Still, now and then you do wonder what you might have made of some of these incredible landscapes before they were captured by these powerful visions.
Image: Don Binney's old studio and the view at Te Henga