New work by Dick Frizzell spans both gallery spaces in Rugby, Rhyming and Here. Covering three themes Frizzell's new works are inspired by New Zealand's devotion to Rugby, the poetry of Sam Hunt and our rugged, unique landscape.
Infamous for his eclectic styles, Frizzell has emerged as an icon of New Zealand Visual Culture and his Four Square Man has become a distinct image of Kiwiana itself. Fittingly, Frizzell was selected as the official artist for RWC 2011 and created a series of images that encapsulate our culture and Rugby’s place within it. Along with his limited edition boxed sets and imagery used on official tournament apparel Frizzell has created a suite of paintings around the Rugby idea. Ranging from his infamous 'Tiki' (which courted such controversy when unveiled in the 1990s in the midst of a national debate about biculturalism) to a nostalgic image of half-time oranges for sustenance, bootlaces in the shape of New Zealand and an animated strip of the haka, these works are quintessentially Kiwi and typically Frizzellean.
A second grouping of paintings in Rugby, Rhyming and Here can loosely be called text based works as they take their basis in words by legendary poem Sam Hunt. While some fall within the category of Frizzell’s ‘sign works’ others seem to recall Colin McCahon’s written paintings and drawings of the late 1960s.
The ‘sign’ based works are particularly interesting in relation to the series of more traditional landscapes which make up the third grouping included in Rugby, Rhyming and Here, as the sign works can be understood as an extension of landscape painting. The ‘sign’ series began in the early 2000s as Frizzell, having recently moved from Auckland to the Hawkes Bay, began to treat the signage of his new environment in the same way he would any other object in the landscape. What resulted were groupings of seemingly unrelated slogans and icons together within a single composition, all the yellow signs or all the fruit signs for example, giving the effect of being a single placard. Frizzell affectionately referred to these early sign works as "close up" landscapes so close that "all you can see is the sign on the gate" (Dick Frizzell: The Painter (2009), pg. 243).
The exhibition brings together three distinct elements of New Zealand culture and can be understood as a celebration of all three. Rugby, Rhyming and Here runs across two gallery spaces - at our Lorne St Gallery and our gallery on the corner of Kitchener and Wellesley Sts.