FHE is delighted to present this select exhibition of fifteen New Zealand images by Marti Friedlander. These works encompass significant moments in the early career of one of New Zealand's most celebrated photographers.
London-born, Marti arrived in New Zealand in 1958. She began what has become a life-long project: capturing thousands of photographic images that record the faces, places and events that have shaped this country's recent history. These images can be viewed not only as illustrations of the way we were, but also as essential insights into the way we have changed and grown as a nation, and indeed, how we see ourselves today.
Brother Sylvester, is a prime example of Marti's ability to represent her subject in depth. She offers us insight into her sitters appearance, position in life, context or environment, and significantly, reveals something of their true character. This portrait of one of the pioneers of the New Zealand wine industry presents Brother Sylvester in Classical side profile. He appears proud and strong, authoritarian, in the manner of an emperor or king on a Roman coin. It speaks obviously of the subjects power, his high ranking in the Catholic Church perhaps. Yet looking closely, one begins to sense the individual behind the pose. The small details and modeling Marti has chosen to leave in this bold silhouette reveal the lines and textures of a face that has laughed much. It is a generous and kind face, earthly and real; more than just an institutional figurehead.
So it is in her other portraits; we are given a glimpse of the real character of people. And she often selects the most of characterful people. Artists, writers and intellectuals have been at the core of Marti's subject choice for a long time. In this exhibition we are given the opportunity to explore the character of such regarded creatives as Rita Angus, Michael King, Robyn White, Michael Illingworth, Philip Clairmont and Alan Maddox.
I am saying to people...
'This is your history'.