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58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times Ocula Report 58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times 24 May 2019 : Mohammad Salemy for Ocula

The 58th Venice Biennale, May You Live In Interesting Times (11 May–24 November 2019), certainly benefitted from low expectations, given the lacklustre curatorial of the previous edition, when different segments of the show were conceptually framed with titles like 'Pavilion of Joys and Fears' and 'Pavilion of Colours'. Add to this the...

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Zheng Bo Ocula Conversation Zheng Bo

Hong Kong-based artist Zheng Bo's social, ecological, and community-engaged art practice has, in recent years, focused on moving beyond a human-centred perspective to an all-inclusive, multi-species approach. He takes up marginalised plants and communities of people as subjects in his large-scale interventions, which reintroduce wildness into...

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Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia Ocula Report Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia 18 May 2019 : Fawz Kabra for Ocula

Bridging almost a century of Brazilian art, Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia at Blum & Poe in New York (30 April–22 June 2019), hosted in collaboration with Mendes Wood DM, offers a rereading of Brazilian Modernism through the works of artists practising at different times, from the 20th century through to the...

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Max Gimblett

b. 1935, New Zealand

As one of New Zealand's most colourful expatriates, Max Gimblett holds a unique place in contemporary New Zealand art. He was born in 1935 in Auckland and moved to North America in his late 20s, first studying drawing at Ontario College of Art (1964) and then painting at the San Francisco Art Institute (1965). Based in New York since 1972, he visits and works in Auckland regularly. Gimblett is best known for his gestural paintings and quatrefoil canvases that combine various Eastern and Western sources as a way of expressing spirituality.

Gimblett's gestural paintings stem from his profound interest in Japanese religious beliefs and calligraphy. Kenneth Patchen (1911–1972), the American poet whose Zen ink drawings Gimblett first encountered in 1966, was particularly influential on Gimblett's nascent ink-based works. An ordained Rinzai Zen Buddhist himself, Gimblett's work cites Zen principles of reconciling opposites, as manifested in the juxtaposition of calligraphic lines with a geometric canvas. His process of painting—during which he engages his entire body in the work while shouting or pausing to clap—also borrows the idea of Mind from Zen Buddhism. Described as 'ALL MIND NO MIND' by the artist, the approach attempts to suppress the mind from rationalising during the act of painting.

At the same time, however, Gimblett also identifies himself as a Modernist. His bold gestures evoke Willem de Kooning as much as they do Japanese calligraphy. Wassily Kandinsky's vision of Modernism, which emphasises the link between painting and spirituality and communal values, has long been integral to Gimblett's practice. He considers art not as a commodity but as a potent agent in service of the community, remarking in a 2014 interview with Ocula Magazine that 'Art stands for the truth and feeds people with spirit.'

A defining characteristic of Gimblett's work is his use of geometric shapes as supports. Produced since the 1980s, his quatrefoil canvases deny the notion of the canvas as a window, presenting them as spiritually charged fields. Gimblett views the quatrefoil as 'a symbol of wholeness', standing for the most sacred in both Eastern and Western religions. The tondo is equally popular in his oeuvre, and he exhibited a series of gestural paintings on circular canvases as part of group exhibition Full Circle (2013–14) at Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland.

Gimblett's use of precious metals further affirms his interest in symbolic materials referencing spiritual beliefs. Gold and silver are historically associated with light, vitality, wisdom and enlightenment. Applied as gestural marks or over the whole of the canvas, the metals not only allow for bold colours but also create highly reflective surfaces.

Since his first solo exhibition in 1971 at A Clean Well Lighted Place in Austin, Texas, Gimblett has exhibited widely in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In 2004, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki organised The Brush of All Things—a major survey exhibition including numerous Gimblett works from private and public collections. Four years later, he was part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's group exhibition The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989. His work is in the permanent collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Gimblett was appointed as Honorary Visiting Professor to the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries at the University of Auckland in 2005.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2017
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Featured Artworks

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Wander by Max Gimblett contemporary artwork Max GimblettWander, 2018 Acrylic, Aquasize, Swiss Gold Leaf, Resin / Linen
15 x 15 inches
Page Blackie Gallery
Shade by Max Gimblett contemporary artwork Max GimblettShade, 2018 Acrylic, Aquasize, Pale Gold Leaf, Resin, MSA / Canvas
15 x 15 inches
Page Blackie Gallery
Sail Tune by Max Gimblett contemporary artwork Max GimblettSail Tune, 2018 Acrylic, Aquasize, Copper Leaf, Resin, MSA / Canvas
22 x 30 inches
Page Blackie Gallery
Running Still by Max Gimblett contemporary artwork Max GimblettRunning Still, 2018 Acrylic, Aquasize, Lemon Gold Leaf, Resin, MSA / Canvas
40 x 40 inches
Page Blackie Gallery
Prometheus by Max Gimblett contemporary artwork Max GimblettPrometheus, 2018 30 x 30 inches Page Blackie Gallery
Pinnacle by Max Gimblett contemporary artwork Max GimblettPinnacle, 2018 Acrylic, Aquasize, Lemon Gold Leaf, Resin, MSA / Canvas
30 x 30 inches
Page Blackie Gallery
Offering by Max Gimblett contemporary artwork Max GimblettOffering, 2018 Acrylic, Aquasize, Platinum White Gold Leaf, Resin / Canvas
40 x 40 inches
Page Blackie Gallery
Looking by Max Gimblett contemporary artwork Max GimblettLooking, 2018 Acrylic, Aquasize, Red Gold Leaf, Lemon Gold Leaf, Resin, MSA / Canvas
22 x 30 inches
Page Blackie Gallery

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Max Gimblett, Max Gimblett: Creation at Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington
Closed
7–30 March 2019 Max Gimblett Max Gimblett: Creation Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington
Contemporary art exhibition, Max Gimblett, Max Gimblett - 50 Years of Drawing at Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington
Closed
19 July–12 August 2016 Max Gimblett Max Gimblett - 50 Years of Drawing Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington
Contemporary art exhibition, Max Gimblett, The Rising Sun at Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington
Closed
3–28 March 2015 Max Gimblett The Rising Sun Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Max Gimblett Ocula Conversation Max Gimblett Artist, New York and Auckland

What a strange and wonderful place to meet the painter Max Gimblett – in the hutongs of Beijing. It was as a student of art history in New Zealand that I first came across the work of Max Gimblett. Although the artist has been based in New York since 1972, is now a citizen of America, and has exhibited regularly there (including in the...

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In Related Press

Zen, Art and Alchemy Related Press Zen, Art and Alchemy Stuff : 6 March 2013

Max Gimblett's highly successful career as an artist was in limbo for 20 years while a butterfly waited for wings. He tells the story to Diana Dekker.Somewhere, probably, there is a tall Maori man aged around 77 who is oblivious to the the fact he gave Max Gimblett artist's block for 20 years.New York-based Gimblett is, at 77, one of most...

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