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City Gallery City Gallery Wellington

Past exhibition

Ken Orchard: Return to Sender

28 August–8 October 1989

OTHER VENUES Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch, 18 December 1989–January 1990; Dunedin Public Art Gallery, March–16 April 1990; Govett-Brewster Gallery, New Plymouth, October–2 December 1990; Artspace, Auckland, 21 August–14 September 1990 SPONSOR Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council

Australian printmaker Ken Orchard is the Gallery’s international artist-in-residence, staying at the Rita Angus cottage for two months. His large modular woodblock-print works play on ideas of reproduction and repetition, transforming found imagery using a mixture of manual and mechanical processes.

The Gallery commissions Orchard to create the title piece Return to Sender (1989) at Willis Street Print Studio during his residency. It comprises eighteen identical panels presented in a grid, with alternating orientations. The image is inspired by a pointing-hand return-to-sender stamp on the corner of a returned envelope.

Rendered in tones of blue, Blue Print (For A Moment of Inertia) (1988–9) superimposes an image by Australian surrealist painter James Gleeson on a haka scene painted by Major-General Horatio Gordon Robley, a British army officer at the battles of Gate Pā and Te Ranga near Tauranga in 1864. Orchard says it, ‘represents an unresolvable conflict between cultural representations—be they Western or Maori’.

Transfermation (1987) is a seventeen panel work installed against the ceiling, overhead.

The earliest work, Three Textures (1986), features details from found images: a boy diving into water,  a man holding a steaming cup, and a young woman leaning in for a kiss.

During his residency, Orchard gives a lecture and hosts printmaking demonstrations at Willis Street Print Studio. He also creates a complimentary piece, The White Terraces (1989) for the touring show, based on an early drawing of the Rotorua attraction.