LIFE: Brushing up on art
AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- One of the nice things about this visit to Auckland is that we've gotten to see several of the family art shows. The Siddell family are all acclaimed New Zealand artists (except for Avril, who's the "white sheep" of the family); the house here is crammed with family paintings and sculptures and such. Her father Peter is one of the country's most famous realist artists, while mother Sylvia focuses on still lifes and some quite dramatic colors. Last week we got to attend an opening for Avril's sister Emily, who's a glass artist and does some amazingly impressive installations, the kind of thing that astound you by being really complex and yet elegantly simple at the same time. Emily's partner Stephen Bradbourne also had a nice opening of his own solo show at the gallery at the same time, with his large, color-flecked glass vessels. (Unfortunately things got a bit rowdy with the wine and all and one of these grand pieces met an untimely end on the concrete floor Saturday after a really tragic stumble by one of the guests at the opening. Egad.)
Then yesterday we drove out to the Lopdell House in Auckland's suburbs, which features a cool show called "Bugged" all about insects and contributions from both Peter and Sylvia. And on Monday I went to the Auckland Art Gallery to check out a nice new show, "Art & The '60s from Tate Britain," all kinds of swinging experimental '60s artwork. As I was leaving that show and heading through another part of the gallery, I turn the corner and find another huge painting by my father-in-law on display in the gallery of New Zealand artwork. I can't get away from art around here. It's enough to make a man want to pick up a brush.