The 80’s – I remember it well…The Fletcher Trust Collection at Tauranga Art Gallery


It was (and is) a symbol of success to have corporate collections of art. Companies had them. Banks had them. I’ve been to meetings in law offices where I had to drag myself away from the walls to the words. I’ve been privileged to have been given a “tour” of the office artwork of a then major player in the Tauranga property-development scene. And, I’m part of a generation for whom the name Fletcher meant post-war hardwork, energy and well-built homes. The short, unprepossessing looking, old carpenter, the Fletcher of legend and the corporate building standing lighthouse like over Penrose.

The 80’s exhibition showing in the downstairs gallery and vault of the Tauranga Art Gallery of works from the Fletcher Trust Collection is what I would call a capsule or contained exhibition. It’s not a “big” exhibition but it’s an interesting exhibition. There’s an emphasis on the abstract and graphic. There’s work where you can calibrate the progression and development of individual artists from this period.

The work didn’t remind me of double-breasted jackets, long lunches and big earrings. It did remind me of the time I took my toddler daughter for her first visit to the Auckland Art Gallery – I was carrying her so tightly I’m amazed her blood didn’t stop circulating. We were followed around the gallery by one of the “staff” who repeatedly told me “not to touch anything”. I didn’t tell him i’d spent my teenage years patting the head of the bronze inside the gallery door.

These works remind me how far we have come in the way we present and engage with the community, particularly the community of potential artists, gallery supporters and gallery visitors. There is nothing more wonderful when I’m visiting the Tauranga Art Gallery than to see the groups of children going to the education room, the children and young people being taken around exhibitions, and the children and young people attending opening events .

What I loved about this exhibition was not the journey back in time but the whimsical statements about the 80’s the curators had added to the description of each work. It was also a total back to the future feeling to see that loop run of 80s ads – did men really wear hotpants!

We owe a continuing debt to corporate collectors like Fletchers and James Wallace – their interest in art and art collection effectively supports and mentors contemporary and emergent artists.

This exhibition closes on the 27th of August 2017 – go and see it. The exhibition dates for the other exhibitions currently showing in the Tauranga Art Gallery are listed below.

Willow: an Installation by Sara Hughes 1 July – 1 October 2017

This major project invites visitors of all ages to interact with the elements of the work…”

Generosity: Gifts for the Gallery – 1 July 0 17 September 2017

Tauranga arts patron and donor Mrs David Dowrick

The exhibition features works that explore the relationships with significant individuals and personalities who have helped to build the Tauranga Art Gallery collection ….” Curated by former Gallery Director Penelope Jackson

The 80s Show 1 July-27 August 2017

A selection of artworks sharing some of the high points in our cultural history..”

Toi Mauri: Contemporary Maori Carving by Todd Couper 1 July – 10 September 2017

Todd Couper at the opening of Toi Mauri at the Tauranga Art Gallery

…the first survey exhibition over the past 15 years of the impressive career of Tauranga-based contemporary Maori artist Todd Couper…”

Jae Kang: Waves of Your Breath 1 July – 29 October 2017

Auckland-based, Korean artist, Jae Kang has made a large-scale site-specific drawing on the walls of our gallery stairwell.”

Insert Coin- Kereama Taepa 1 July 2017 – January 2018

Commissioned for the Gallery-s 10th Anniversary celebrations, Papamoa-based artist Kereama Taepa has created one of his unique graphic mash-ups inside the Tauranga Art Gallery lift.”

The programme also contains details of exhibitions commencing in September 2017.

ARTbop is publishing individual reviews of each of the exhibitions currently showing in the Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga.

While your Downtown in Tauranga, make sure you visit the other galleries and purveyors of vintage and antique art and collectables in that area:

Macandmor in the Goddard Centre is currently showing the work of Christie Cramer. The body of work in this exhibition is very different from the work Christie has done previously. It’s a collection of works in a style similar to the vibrant work which won her the Runner Up prize in the recent Tauranga Society of Artists Competition.


Artist and gallery owner Mira Corbova-Smith

The Tauranga Art Lounge – artist owner and gallery director Mira Corbova-Smith has a wide variety of work on display and for sale in the gallery. Mira organises classes and workshops on a regular basis.

The Dry Dock cafe (diagonally down from the Tauranga Art Gallery) has exhibitiona of art work.

Bedazzle in the Goddard Centre – a total treasure trove of vintage clothing, objets trouvee and art. 

                                           The Colonial Antique Shop on Willow Street – so English or Remuera – worth a look!

Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.


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