Mangaweka by Robin White

Mangaweka by Robin White

Print Code: 9260
NZ$470.00 Last 1

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Fine Art Print

Approx image size in millimetres: 460 x 470

Update: The publisher has ceased production of this incredibly detailed large print. Prints left to buy: 1 Re-photographed to ensure that this print is made from the latest up to date digital files for printing. These premium Fine Art prints are giclee prints, printed one at a time on Hahnemuhle German etching paper which is 310gsm, 100% Cellulose, acid free, archival paper using an Epson Surecolor 64" printer. This fine art printer uses Ultrachrome K3 inks, these pigment inks ensure the widest possible colour tonal range in digital printing available today.
White’s 1973 painting is of a 1930s era truck parked outside a wooden building in the small North Island town of Mangaweka. Although dated 1973, Mangaweka had its origins in 1971, when Robin White, then a recent Elam School of Fine Arts graduate, was living in a tiny cottage at Bottle Creek on Pāuatahanui Inlet, near Porirua. That year she and her fellow Bottle Creek resident, the poet Sam Hunt, made a road trip to visit friends who lived near the small rural settlement of Mangaweka, near Taihape. When they stopped in the main street, White immediately noticed the truck parked in front of an old wooden building. ‘The truck belonged there,’ she recalled. She admired the ‘Mangaweka’ on the door and how it ‘blended with the lines of the building and the curves of the hills beyond’. She took a series of photographs — close-up views and shots incorporating the background: ‘I saw the painting before I ever painted it.’

Back at Bottle Creek, White was busy with other projects. Late in 1971 she left for Dunedin, bought a cottage at Portobello, and became acquainted with the Otago Peninsula landscape. It was not until 1973, now married and expecting her first child, that she had the chance to develop the painting she had earlier envisaged. Mangaweka shows the influence of Rita Angus, an artist White greatly admired, in its stylised linear forms, flattened space and brilliant light. It is structured according to a taut, irregular grid, and bisected by the dramatic line of the veranda. White suppresses unnecessary detail, focusing on the crisp geometric form of the building sandwiched between the truck and hills. She signs her name on the door, inscribing herself in the picture and alluding to the painter’s role in transforming the way we see the world.

Like much of White’s early work, Mangaweka takes a small slice of small-town New Zealand and transforms it into an archetypal image — a painterly parallel to Sam Hunt’s poetry. The same year as that memorable visit with White, Hunt wrote ‘A Mangaweka road song’, where he tells us the following: “No place more I’d like to bring you than this one-pub town approached in low gear down the gorges through the hills”. Notes on this painting hat-tip to NZ art historian Jill Trevelyan.