Throughout his career Pat Hanly (1932-2004) expressed his responses to matters of social conscience in contemporary New Zealand with an impassioned vision. His paintings are characteristically vibrant, while his subjects are variously political; reflective of the human psyche; and, in his observations of family and friends, personal. This exhibition brings together a collection of painted works and limited editions for his first solo exhibition at Gow Langsford.
His works are difficult to place in the sense of an artistic genre, in essence they are abstract, some series were particularly expressive, whilst many others contained figurative and landscape aspects. Herein lies the sheer magic and unique quality of Hanly’s works; they were vibrant and unapologetic compared to others working at this time. Hanly himself exclaimed that art should be “electrifying, illuminating and even cosmic in its implications and effects”
Whilst a bold and bright colour palette adorns the majority of his works, as a contradiction many were politically charged in subject matter. After studying in Christchurch, he moved to London in the 1960s where he completed his first series of works. The series was to be a crucial part of his artistic practise. The Fire Series, Showgirl Series, and Massacre of the Innocents were all produced during this time, with the use of darker sweeping tones of blacks and dark blues, contrasted against bold and fiery reds, representative of the turbulent events occurring in Europe. On his return to New Zealand only two years later, his works became remarkably more joyous and optimistic in contrast to the previous years. Inspiration from the rugged New Zealand landscape, New Zealand’s own political and cultural changes, and observing his own family, is where Hanly arguably stepped into his own.
Hanly, 2012, Gregory O’Brien