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Nelson Hills Now On Show At The Suter Art Gallery

Nelson Hills
Saturday, February 27, 20219:30 AM – Sunday, June 13, 20214:30 PM
The Suter Art Gallery
28 Halifax Street EastNelson, Nelson, 7010New Zealand

The Group was perhaps the most influential collective in New Zealand’s art history. An informal arts association, it was begun in 1927 by artists’ who had initially met through their studies at the Canterbury College of Art. Together the exhibited annually as an alternative to the more conservative ‘Art Societies’ that had dominated the art world since the Nineteenth Century. The Group were, in contrast, committed to experimental work that looked to the future of art in Aotearoa. Where they saw the more traditional artists as reliant on an English or European mode of art from the century before, they were instead interested in developing a more contemporary artmaking. Soon its members grew to include Rita Angus, Olivia Spencer Bower, W H Allen, Doris Lusk, Leo Bensemann, Colin McCahon and one of Nelson’s most famous and influential artists – Toss Woollaston.

Nelson Hills brings together artworks from these artists that depict the wider Nelson and Tasman region. While The Group was primarily a Christchurch based collective, their members had a wide reach and traveled across Aotearoa to work, make and live. Toss Woollaston spent a large portion of his life in this place, and his residence here was certainly a draw for his contemporaries – many of whom made regular visits to paint, write and spend time with him here.

For these artists Nelson was a very popular location to spend their time, and upon which to base their artworks. With seasonal agricultural work that supplemented an artist’s income, the strength of the Pacifist community, as well as the bonds of friendship meant that even after The Group disbanded in 1977, many of its members continued to spend time in Nelson. Our hills, valleys, shorelines, orchards and estuaries cried out to be painted – “It is a landscape calling for honouring.”[1]

Sarah McClintock
Suter Curator

Nelson Hills is now on show at The Suter Art Gallery.
Depictions of Nelson from members of The Group, a collective of influential artists who exhibited together in the 1927-1977. This exhibition brings together work from The Suter’s collection and prominent public and private collections across Aotearoa.
You can read more about the exhibition on our website: https://thesuter.org.nz/exhibitions/2021/2/27/nelson-hills
Stop by and pay us a visit. Entry to The Suter is free and we are open from 0930 till 1430 daily.

[1] Jill Trevelyan (ed.), Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters, Te Papa Press, 2004, p.128

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