The Search for the Fabulous Idea: Recovering and Discovering June Black (1910-2009)

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dc.contributor.advisor Woodward, R en Duneas, Janie en 2016-11-20T20:18:22Z en 2016 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract This thesis will address the absence of June Black (1910-2009) within the history of New Zealand art and reposition her, in an art history context, as an important precursor in the conceptual approach to art and credit her innovative approach to ceramics as an art medium. Her pioneering use of the ceramic medium bridged the divide between art and craft at a time when these practices were separate. The significance of her oeuvre has been underestimated and overlooked. This dismissal of Black will be challenged by a detailed examination of her life, her development as an artist, and her influence within the New Zealand artistic and ceramic community. Early in her career, when Black was based in Wellington, her style was distinctive, unique and her exhibitions sensational. Not only was her use of the ceramic medium unconventional, she was ahead of local trends with her conceptual approach that moved well beyond a New Zealand modernism. In creating a conceptual landscape for her artistic endeavours, she exhibits a new dimension in New Zealand art, which would only become appreciated and understood with the advent of postmodernism and conceptualism. Black’s work is a philosophical enquiry into human experience. It is absurdist; its ‘genius’ was relegated to the peripheral realms of outsider art by critics and reviewers who found her work too challenging and eccentric. However, some artists and potters were enthusiastic and inspired by her work and ideas; she was well received by the public and her work sold well. But this enthusiasm did not transfer to the broader arts fraternity of New Zealand in the 1950s and 60’s. While the pottery community welcomed her, her ceramic work did not conform to the tradition of New Zealand pottery and did not suit the clay movement’s philosophy. Similarly her medium and ideas did not conform to the trends of fine arts during her lifetime. In essence what this means is that Black was excluded because of the way she employed a craft medium sculpturally, transcending and challenging the objectivity of art and craft, through the ideas she expressed. June Black was an intellectual, a feminist in advance of her time, and as such she must hold a pivotal place in the evolution of New Zealand art. This lack of acknowledgement needs to be addressed. In falling between the divide of art and craft and placed outside mainstream art movements, her work has remained unseen and undervalued for many years. It is important that Black is rescued from obscurity, and positioned within the New Zealand art canon. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264880513202091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.title The Search for the Fabulous Idea: Recovering and Discovering June Black (1910-2009) en
dc.type Thesis en Art History en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 546616 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2016-11-21 en

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