Capturing the art of the move

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New Zealand photographer Adrienne Martyn with one of her images of Anderson House, which features in an exhibition at the Invercargill Public Art Gallery.

PHOTOGRAPHER Adrienne Martyn has captured a transitional phase in the history of Anderson House.

Her exhibition Adrienne Martyn: Shift – light, surfaces and art of the move opened last week at the Invercargill Public Art Gallery (IPAG).

Anderson House, the former home of the IPAG, has been closed to the public since 2014 and now, with earthquake strengthening scheduled for the house, the art collection is being removed.

Martyn spent a week at the house last year while the collection was being packed up, the result is three separate bodies of work.

Interiors showcases the empty rooms, with only some large pieces of furniture remaining.

“You could really see the building, the materials of the building, the construction, the light.

“In these images I wanted to portray the subtlety and the beauty of the light on the surfaces.”

In contrast, Objects features photographs of the rooms being packed up, with dust cloths shrouding or partially covering items.

To make the most of a black wall at the IPAG, Martyn has also created a video slide show looking out of the windows at the house.

“When I first went to Anderson House at the beginning of the project I photographed all the window panes with the lovely view of the bush.”

She said the images were also interesting because they also showed the imperfections in the old glass windows and the distortion over time.

“That works really really well with the texture of the leaves.”

Although she now lives in Wellington, Martyn was brought up in Invercargill and has her own special connection to the property.

“My family was involved in the creation of the building so to speak.”

Her grandfather was one of builders for contractor Alf Ball, who was Martyn’s great uncle by marriage.

Ball had previously done a lot of contract work for Sir Robert Anderson, she said.

“Through that he then asked Alf if he would build a house.”

Martyn said when she was a child she and her siblings were often taken to Anderson Park by their mother to visit the gallery.

“She took us out there because her father built it, she was very proud of what he had created.”

Martyn said she always enjoyed wandering around the big, beautiful rooms and looking at the artwork.

“That stayed with me and whenever I went to Invercargill to visit… I would always make a trip out to Anderson Park.”

IPAG manager/curator Sarah Brown said what made the exhibition special for their organisation was it documented an important transition phase.

“Walking back in here after we’d hung it, it felt like a real merger of our past and our present coming together.”

Brown said the printed works in the exhibition would become part of the IPAG collection.

“Which is due to Adrienne’s very generous donation of many works, and also a bequest… We thought this was essential to remain here and become part of our collection.”

Unlimited prints of Martyn’s photographs were also available to purchase.

The exhibition is on until May 5.

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