An ice-cream run to the corner dairy; that road trip up the coast; a cold one on a long, hot afternoon. ‘Golden Summer’ celebrates all this and more on a nostalgic journey around New Zealand. ‘Golden Summer’, is a joint exhibition by New Zealand based artists Greg Straight and Ross Murray. The show opens this Friday at Endemic World on Ponsonby Rd.
How did the show come about?
Greg: Last year Ross and I were both featured in a street art / design magazine called No Cure based in Australia. They released a New Zealand issue and interviewed a bunch of amazing artists. Ross is from the Mount and I have family at Papamoa, so I decided to drop Ross an email and introduce myself. I am a big fan of his work and we soon became friends.
Last year I started researching and developing a series of art prints looking at different NZ landmarks and places, many of these were rural settings. On my way to the BOP I just kept seeing these typical New Zealand scenes and wanted to turn them into artworks. Ross had been working on a similar range and by coincidence we were totally on the same page but executing them in very different ways.
Ross’s works have a beautiful organic hand drawn feel to them often looking at old packaging and logos combined with retro styled cars while mine are all very hard edged, geometric and kept fairly simple in their compositions. We decided to put an exhibition together to showcase the new works and Elliot at Endemic World was the perfect guy to help make this come into fruition.
Can you tell us about the theme of the show?
Ross: The show is essentially a celebration of the New Zealand summer. It features some recurring imagery: dairies, beaches, vintage advertising, Cortinas, Kingswoods and plenty of sun-baked landscapes. The overall tone is very nostalgic. Greg’s work has a beautiful simplicity to it, which in a way, symbolises the rose-tinted memories of our youth. And my work focuses on the idea of the summer road trip and how modern ideas of nostalgia are often linked to the things we consume. We both set out to make our artwork really evocative; so while a lot of the locations are imagined, they feel super familiar.
"I’d go surfing all day until my arms felt like they would drop off, sometimes taking out my Uncle's 9 foot Big Kahuna surfboard when the swell was small. The sand on your jandles, offshore breeze in your hair and the sound of laughter from the family sharing a long lunch together, that to me is my favorite memory of summer."
Favourite NZ summer memory?
Ross: My favourite NZ summer is a combination of two or three summers at Opoutere in the Coromandel where I lived about ten years ago. Collecting Tuatua and making fritters soaked in freshly squeezed lemon juice; that lovely long beach, completely empty except for the dotterels and oystercatchers; shady walks through the pines; driving to the local orchard to buy stone fruit and Frujus; watching the kaka fly north in the morning and return south at night; and bobbing in the surf at dusk with the bronze whalers.
Greg: It would have to be the family tiki tours down to Papamoa to visit my Aunty Hazel and Uncle Jim back when I was young. We would all pile into the old station wagon, me and my two brothers in the back or sometimes boot with surfboards on the roof, fishing rods and enough luggage to sink a ship. My Uncle would put the long line out and catch fresh snapper for dinner and aunty would make a huge spread with veges and salad grown from their garden and hot Tuatua fritters.
Although they had very little money they had huge hearts and would welcome anyone into their home. I’d go surfing all day until my arms felt like they would drop off, sometimes taking out my Uncle's 9 foot Big Kahuna surfboard when the swell was small. The sand on your jandles, offshore breeze in your hair and the sound of laughter from the family sharing a long lunch together, that to me is my favorite memory of summer.