Presenting previously unseen or rarely seen works, this exhibition direct from the New Zealand Portrait Gallery brings together a selection of Ian Scott’s paintings from the last three decades of his life.

This collection highlights Scott’s interest in the story of New Zealand painting and painters, and expands the perception of his practice beyond his most widely known and exhibited ‘lattices’ series.

In these artworks, Scott brings together what are normally separate approaches to painting; blending portraiture, landscape, text, reproduction and abstraction. Portraits of mid-century New Zealand artists, or their artworks, literally bustle and vie for attention against New Zealand iconography and scenery.

Both memorializing and questioning nationalist narratives that had dominated art making since the 1930s, Scott’s paintings follow the impact of international perspectives welcomed by a new generation of artists, and linger on the bigger question of what it means to live and make art in this place.

Painted soon after the death of his friend and mentor Colin McCahon in May 1987, and Scott’s first battle with cancer in 1988, the works in this exhibition wrangle with questions of meaning and legacy. McCahon’s legacy and impact is contrasted with the tradition kept alive by Sir Henry Kelliher and the artists he patronised, as Scott was interestingly a Kelliher award winner in his teens. Such contrasts are emblematic of Scott’s fascination with the characters and issues embroiled in the fight over what qualified as ‘serious painting’ in this period, and most of all what could constitute a ‘New Zealand Painting’.

Curated by Chris Corson-Scott and Jaenine Parkinson, Director of the NZ Portrait Gallery, Wellington

Opening Hours

  • Daily, 10am-4.30pm


  • Dart House, 12 Hawthorne Drive,
  • Frankton Queenstown 9300