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Gow Langsford Gallery

Gow Langsford Gallery


Tony Fomison: A Portrait

Fomison_300 x 400mm_web
Fomison_the risen christ appearing to three senators by Tintoretto_1967_830 x 510mm_web
Grace_Fomison_13_1989_150 x 225mm (image)_web
Fomison_420 x 460mm_web
Grace_Fomison_09_1989_150 x 225mm (image)_web
Fomison_Dreams are all we are made of_1988 Licnoln St, 1989 Williamson Ave_920 x 1840mm_web
Fomison_Time for an Ice Cream
Fomison_Two Comedians on a poster_1978_350mm diameter_nobackground
Fomison_Nightman_1971_1140 x 800mm_web
Grace_Fomison_04_1989_150 x 225mm (image)_web
Grace_Fomison_07_1989_150 x 225mm (image)_web
Grace_Fomison_08_1989_150 x 225mm (image)_web
Grace_Fomison_10_1989_150 x 225mm (image)_web
Grace_Fomison_11_1989_150 x 225mm (image)_web
Grace_Fomison_15_1989_150 x 225mm (image)_web
Grace_Fomison_03_1989_150 x 225mm (image)_web
Fomison_Poster on the wall: her memory of a holiday in Fiji, 1986
Fomison_Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde_1986_135(l )x100(h) x 125(h)mm
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Grace_set of 13 photographs
Grace_Fomison_01_1989_102 x 160mm (image)_web
Installation view, Tony Fomison: A Portrait, 2013
Tony Fomison: A portrait_Installation view_2013
Installation view, Tony Fomison: A Portrait, 2013
Installation view, Tony Fomison: A Portrait, 2013

Tony Fomison: A Portrait
Kitchener St
27 February - 16 March 2013
Preview: Tuesday 26 February, 5 - 7pm
White Night, Auckland Arts Festival. Saturday 16 March. 6pm - midnight. 

This exhibition of photographs of Tony Fomison by Shirley Grace, shown alongside Fomison’s own paintings, prints and ceramics offers a unique insight into one of this country’s most recognised post-war painters.

Fomison (1939-1990), like his paintings, is said to have had an intensity and presence that is somewhat difficult to define. Reflected in his works in a lifetime spent of observation and documentation of his immediate environments, here, Grace’s photographs offer a kind of counter observation of the artist himself.
Fomison’s canvases are often characterised as dark, brooding or foreboding and are thought to offer a personal representation of the human condition and its inherent fragility. Subject to depression himself, images of clowns, jesters, and religious subjects and symbols act as further metaphors for human frailty. His subjects often reflect his interest in issues of multiculturalism and the multicultural environment in which he chose to live. Traditional narratives and mythology were also frequently combined with the contemporary human figure. There is a strong emphasis on colour and shading, lending many works an almost apocalyptic sense.

Shirley Grace’s contribution to this exhibition provides a unique insight into Fomison’s character and studio life. Grace (1949 - 2000) was a noted film actor (Goodbye Pork Pie, Pallet on the Floor, Gordon Bennett) painter and photographer. Her relationship with Tony Fomison is documented in a series of photographs taken at his home in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn in 1989. Accompanying entries from her dairy recall a personal experience of the often elusive artist. She wrote:

Tony was welcoming although obviously physically frail, has an inner strength and presence that is impossible not to be affected by. His eyes are intense he has the need/desire to communicate fully about all sorts of things. He spoke frequently of honesty and ethics and how his ‘art scene’ rejected him. I now fumble for the words to describe him – his own were so eloquent and I came away wishing I had had a tape recorder – because when I started to photograph, I was concentrating on the images and was aware, as a result, of missing quite a bit of what he said. (undated journal entry, circa November 1989)


 (image: Untitled (Tony Fomison) by Shirley Grace, 1989)