• Imogen Taylor and Sue Hillery

In 2020, for this presentation of Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys, Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi invited artist Imogen Taylor and architect Sue Hillery to develop a work that draws inspiration from Hodgkins as a new site-specific wall painting for the gallery’s Congreve Foyer. Based on a careful engagement with two paintings by Hodgkins: Double Portrait (Friends), (1925) and Wings over Water, (1931–2), their work adds one more to the lineup of contemporary practitioners in 19 Gallery who have responded to their modernist forbear. Subtly referencing Hodgkins’ palette and her choice of subjects, this new wall painting extends Taylor’s efforts to ‘queer’ space, adapting a new visual language developed from iconography like the screw thread she has used in earlier works and Maoriculpus Roseus shells with their long screw-like bodies that are abundant on Dunedin’s—Hodgkin’s home town—beaches, particularly Aramoana, that generate allusions to female sexuality and queer desire.

The idea to invite Taylor and Hillery was inspired by the wall painting they made for the exhibition Sapphic Fragments (1 February – 28 March 2020) at the Hocken Gallery at the end of Taylor’s residency as University of Otago’s 2019 Frances Hodgkins Fellow, and her recent work in Fire-lit Kettle at Enjoy Contemporary Art Space in Wellington (19 June – 25 July 2020). The pair have also partnered to develop spatial design and architectural interventions for Taylor’s solo-exhibition Ōtepoti; Betwixt and Between (2019) at Michael Lett Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau, and the group exhibition Pocket Histories at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau (2018) and The Dowse Art Museum, Te Awakairangi (2018).

Imogen Taylor (born 1985, Whangarei) is recognised for her paintings that relitigate a history of modern art through a queer lens. Since graduating from the Elam School of Fine Arts with a Post-graduate Diploma in Fine Arts in 2010, Taylor has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand and has enjoyed significant successes, including receiving the Paramount Award at the Wallace Trust Art Awards (2018), a McCahon House Residency (2017), and an invitation to be studio artist at the Corban Estate Art Centre. She is represented by Michael Lett, Auckland.

Sue Hillery studied sculpture at Ilam School of Fine Arts, graduating in 1991, before completing a Bachelor of Architecture in 2001 at the University of Auckland (1st Class Honours). Initially establishing a solo architecture practice, Hillery then partnered with architect Richard Priest to form Hillery Priest Architecture from 2006-2012. Throughout her career Hillery has maintained strong ties to the art world, having sat on the board of artist-run gallery Teststrip from 1992-7 and having continued to work on a number of joint projects with artists.