New Zealand painter Max Gimblett returns to Wellington this December from
his home in New York to open two new shows. The Rose of Paracelsus – recent
paintings opens at the Bartley Nees Gallery on Tuesday 7 December and a
major survey show The brush of all things, travels from Auckland Art Gallery
to open at the City Gallery, Wellington on 12 December.
Max Gimblett has been described as one of New Zealand’s "most
internationally prominent and successful artists" and Bartley Nees Gallery
is proud to present his first solo exhibition with the gallery. The two
exhibitions will provide Wellingtonians with a rare opportunity for a
comprehensive viewing of the work of this important artist who has not shown
in the capital for six years.
Raised in New Zealand, Gimblett has lived and painted in the United States
for almost 40 years and has exhibited widely in the US, Europe, Asia,
Australia and New Zealand. Gimblett’s art is an art that communicates across
cultural boundaries. As Chris Saines, director of the Auckland Art Gallery
writing in the foreword to the catalogue The brush of all things, said:
"His art has its progenitors and its roots in New York – Len Lye central
among them – but its branches are fully extended in their embrace of Asia
and the Pacific Rim. He is decidedly of here but determinedly from there… In
spirit and intent a work by Gimblett often forms in the spaces between
Drawing inspiration from wide-ranging sources, Gimblett’s art is born out of
20th century abstract expressionism and early modernist concerns to express
the spiritual in art and inflected by his interest in Asian art and
"Almost everything that Max Gimblett creates holds and carries with it these
signs of convergence – between contemporary art forms and living cultures or
between ancient belief systems and their latent iconographies. His is an art
that has long gathered up and been nourished by such dualisms, a site for
the testing of ideas and beliefs, a place in which apparent opposites can
and do find sanctuary," wrote Chris Saines.
The title of the exhibition The Rose of Paracelsus is taken from the short
story by the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges about the early
Renaissance physician and alchemist Paracelsus who is regarded as one of the
fathers of modern medicine.
Like the ancient alchemist or artist, Gimblett works with elemental
materials, often including precious metals such as gold, silver and copper,
to transform substance and meaning. As in the Borges story, the search for
meaning involves a focus on process as well as the ultimate goal. In
Gimblett’s work titles allude to references and potential readings
suggesting that although the work is abstract it is not to be experienced or
read on a purely formal level.
The paintings in the Bartley Nees Gallery exhibition challenge the nature of
materials, surprising and delighting with the their mix of luscious
luminosity and stark austerity. Ranging in scale and form with several
employing the distinctive Gimblett trademark quatrefoil support, as seen in
the title painting The Rose of Paracelsus , they demand
reflection, engagement and sheer enjoyment.
Heart of Nimrod
Gesso, epoxy, pigment, swiss gold on canvas