Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Farmer's Wife and The Farmer

At the end of September we took a few days off and headed to New Plymouth. Mainly because we could. It was also the school holidays.

We entertained ourselves with visits to the museum, the statue, and the Len Lye exhibition.

New Plymouth is blessed with a fine museum and Art Gallery, Puke Ariki. While we there, they were staging an exhibition from the Tauranga Art Gallery, called "The Farmer's Wife and The Farmer", a series of paintings by John McLean.

I had never heard of McLean, and so didn't know what to expect, but I was very taken with the paintings in this exhibition.

According to McLean, The Farmer's Wife is a series of paintings which attempted to answer the question "'What happened to The Farmer’s Wife after she departed with The Traveller?’ as portrayed in an earlier painting ,The Departure of The Farmer’s Wife, (Norsewear Art Award 2007.) The ongoing inquiry was then extended into this series when I asked, ‘What happened to the Abandoned Farmer when his wife left?’"

Additionally, the paintings in both series reference common myths and stories (such as The Odyssey), motifs, and symbolism found throughout Western culture. McLean has an interest in "Jungian notions regarding the domain of the unconscious at an individual and collective level. Associated with this was an interest in allegory and traditional tales, myth and fairy story". His paintings therefore operate at different levels, and part of the 'fun' in viewing them is to pick up the symbols and relate each to tales such as the Odyssey.

McLean has the individual images of both The Farmer's Wife and The (Abandoned) Farmer on his website, along with commentary, and both can be viewed as slideshows. Check them out.

No comments: