“The fire and the Rose”

Gretchen Albrecht

My daughter, husband and I were in Wanganui a few weekends ago, Waitangi weekend actually, returned after years of being away. Well, truth to tell I’ve always been away because I never lived there, but Andrew and I were married there in 2010. It was such a great time away.

In 2016, in the New Year I had set myself several goals and I have a list of small and sonetimes large things I want to achieve. A life list, otherwise called a bucket list. One of my items on my life list is to see a sunset and a sunrise and my new years goals included achieving some of the simpler goals on my life list.

So while we were in Wanganui we decided to climb Drurie tower and watch the sun set over Wanganui. Now, I don’t mean to be a party pooper or anything but it didn’t seem to me to be that fantastic. Other than the realisation as to how fast the sun sets.
When I visited the Sargeant Art Gallery on the Quay and saw this painting lit brightly in a darken room the sunset was brought back to me in a moment. And I thought “wow. Aren’t sunsets amazing!”

Thinking about that thought now though I think. This painting looks artificial. It looks plastic and too luminescent. And then I think about the modern age and how things are more real, more beautiful, everything is heightened and packaged and glowing. But nothing is really real. And not only that but what is real is not as fascinating or as taken notice of. That was my experience of a sunset compared to a painting of one. And compared to the hundreds of sunsets streamed across facebook and the movies. Kind of disappointing. And then the other night I was out driving around in Tawa and the sun set and the sky lit up just like this painting and my world seemed to freeze and I watched and I marvelled and I delighted in small and real pleasures.
For me, that is my thoughts on this painting. And I’ll tell you the honest truth, I find modern abstract art really really difficult. Really hard. Is that really art? i ask myself. But inevitably yes it is. The point is not that you understand immediately or in fact at all. But that you consider. That you associate your own thoughts ideas and history with what you see. And again that you communicate about the art.
Its interesting because, like I say, i don’t really get colour work, abstract art like this. But by relating to it in anyway that I can. Through my own experiences I am able to talk loosely in the direction of what this work was getting at.

From the blurb about the work it is talking about the beginning and end of time. The new year and a renewing, purification of a new day, of fire. See below the blurb.

P.s. Don’t do what I do and take photos. i think that’s terrible etiquette and I might be punished at a later date.