Michael Lett gallery presents an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Julian Dashper from 1984–1987.
Dashper’s painting engaged with and appropriated the resurgent international interest in painting that had dominated art markets and centres in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Impressive in their own right, these artworks are about this recent history of art as much as they are their own subjects.
The works in this exhibition channel a persistent enquiry into the conditions and histories of art and art-making, the intractable politics of regionalism, the parochial New Zealand obsession with landscape, and the dynamics of doubling and reproduction—all themes that Dashper would return to throughout his career.
“When you look at a good painting you don’t have to work out how or why it was painted, because you are too busy thinking how much sense it makes.
This is a big painting.”
– Julian Dashper, 1987
“He was deeply committed to responding to where he was in terms of his locations, the specificity of his locations. But at the same time gave you something that didn’t look like anything to do with the traditions of New Zealand art history that we’d inherited.”
– Christina Barton
“Dashper’s work was full of in-jokes. For outsiders, it could seem dry and arcane. But for those whose business was the art world and its machinations, it was witty and consequential.”
– Robert Leonard