A matter of perspective

26 SepCommunity

Is it all in tatters! Should the art gallery split from Te Manawa?

Should the Manawatū art gallery split from the Te Manawa Museum – essentially separating from science and technology in the process? – a thought piece by Phillip Andrews – Design Teacher, UCOL

Sometimes things are just a matter of perspective. Italian ‘Renaissance’ architect Filippo Brunelleschi way back in the fifteenth century came up with this notion of viewpoints and scale. His observation into perspective aided visual communications, influenced modern science, had a big impact on engineering and mathematics and greatly enriched art too.

Perspective came about from a need to visually solve problems. To look at the big picture from a range of other angles and see the potential in them all. It’s about past present and future intertwined into accessibility. Not just high culture, but all cultures and all ages. There’s no clearly defined black and white. The hard and fast rules of today are simply guides to be broken as we actively employ creatively in the pursuit of improvement.

Isaac Asimov talked about the relativity of wrong. The earth was once considered flat. The determination was a logical assumption based on how things looked, particularly the Tigris-Euphrates area where Sumerians once lived. Their basis of evidence seemed sound according to how they experienced life. The words “right” and “wrong” are absolute terms. There is room to move between the two.

Breaking away from Te Manawa could be considered a little like the Rugby World Cup… We have to WIN and they have to LOSE! That’s not forward progress in the community, rather it’s a step backward. With a limited budget for a relatively small city it’s like borrowing from Paul to pay Peter. Sure, I totally agree it would be great to see some high end art exhibitions… and more than one too. But that takes money, collaboration and community buy in.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the privilege and funds to have visited major art galleries around the World… To have seen an ordinal Van Gogh for the first time and only then understand what it was all about. I more recently visited the newly created Ponce art Museum in Puerto-Rico. Well worth the 20 hour flight. I was told at the time we were the first Kiwi’s they had seen. Yes, somehow we must work together to get great works for all to appreciate and in the process boost and foster the artistic appetite for all.

This article wasn’t conceived to judge, relay facts, statistics or demand dramatic and destabilising change. It’s merely an individual perspective from someone keen to keep all the elements together. Let’s not forget Leonardo Da Vinci. For him (a great artist) the combination or art, science and technology went hand in hand… you cannot have one without the other. Come to think of it, Te Manawa not too long ago hosted an exhibition of Da Vinci’s thinking, designs and work.

In conclusion, please focus on ‘UNITY’ After all it’s one of the fundamental design principles.


Phillip Andrews has more than 20 years experience working in the graphic advertising industry from educational positions to print and web – static to interactive/animation based design. He holds a Masters Degree in Visual Communication Design along with many years practicing within industry – advertising, freelance and corporate roles (both New Zealand and UK). (Republished with permission from the author).