Media Release: November, 2007.
Music maestro Bill Hammond opens this Saturday
Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning, the long-awaited survey exhibition of paintings by Bill Hammond, opens at City Gallery Wellington 17 November.
“An original” – known for his sense of humor and irony, Bill Hammond occupies a unique place in New Zealand art history, with a language and technique that is wholly his own. Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning is centered on the theme of music in Hammond’s work; the title comes from the Bob Dylan song 'Hey Mr Tambourine Man' but is also the name of one of Hammond’s opulent paintings. A practicing musician himself, music has been a constant in Hammond’s career and he speaks of his paintings as being like instrumentals “laid out flat”.
Curator Jennifer Hay says Hammond is inspired by the energy of performance and that his work “samples and mixes elements of popular culture in an ironic take on the world.”
Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning features works from the 1980s to the current day, all sourced from private collections here and overseas. The exhibition is divided into five thematic groupings that are also largely chronological: Mix Master, Endangered Species, Zoomorphic, Limbo Ledge, Jingle Jangle Morning.
Hammond is perhaps the only New Zealand painter to have so strongly claimed one motif – birds. He became hooked on them after a trip to the Auckland Islands with fellow artists in 1989. Confronted with “birdland - a paradise free from predators” as he described it, he began to paint a new race of sentient bird creatures into his works. The Buller series, in which Hammond holds a mirror up to NZ post colonial society, was inspired by the shady Victorian ornithologist Sir Walter Lawry Buller. Believing that New Zealand’s indigenous people, flora and fauna were destined to die out; Buller traded thousands of native birds, some of them, like the huia, into extinction. Buller’s passion for collecting was equaled by Hammond’s disgust at the practice and it is through his birds that Hammond is able to deliver an analysis of humanity in his paintings.
William (Bill) Hammond was born in Christchurch in 1947 and attended the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts. In the 1970s, he worked in a sign factory, made jewellery and designed wooden toys before returning fulltime to painting in 1981. He lives in Lyttelton.
Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning
17 November 2007 – 10 February 2008
City Gallery Wellington
Bill Hammond: Jingle, Jangle Morning is a Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu touring exhibition with the support of Ernst & Young, Creative New Zealand and the Friends of the Christchurch Art Gallery. City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from Wellington City Council.