This summer, artist Max Gimblett celebrates his 80th birthday. In marking this milestone, Gow Langsford Gallery has published From Grafton to the Guggenheim. The 175 page hard cover book is part biography - part scrapbook and focusses on the Gallery’s long relationship one of the country’s most noted artists. It provides some background to his personal life; covers his past exhibitions and his working environments and showcases his latest exhibition one day in the afternoon of the gods. We also invited others who have worked with Max to share their stories and join with us in celebrating. Happy 80th Birthday Max!
The book will be released at the exhibition opening, Tuesday 23rd February. The exhibition runs across both gallery spaces.
Excerpt From Grafton to the Guggenheim
If there is one thing you can be certain of when meeting Max Gimblett, it’s that you are unlikely to forget it. Everyone has a “Max” story.
Max is an unusual blend of contradictions: he tears up sentimentally as frequently as he raises his voice, he is both reticent and animated, and has that increasingly inappropriate old-boy humour that you can’t help but find amusing. He is both impulsive and measured and, at his age, you respect his energy although it clearly surges. The faded scent of Old Spice follows him as does his growing following of art admirers. A self-professed Buddhist of Presbyterian upbringing, an American New Zealander, a Kiwi Yank, a painter, ceramicist, printmaker, leader and collaborator; Gimblett is an open book albeit a complex one to read.
He talks about his work with abandon and is a natural-born story teller. His charisma is a tonic that drinks you in before you wonder if he is having you on. His nature is strangely compelling, yet if there is one thing that defines Max, for me, it is not his uber-personality but it is his generosity. He is infinitely giving – his spirit is open and he is generous with his time and thoughts. He has made major donations to both public institutions and to grassroots organisations throughout New Zealand, and his paintings created using his now-famous all mind-no mind approach, are generous expressions of the artist himself.
So this is our story, and our gift to Max. In celebrating his milestone birthday this publication follows Max’s road up to 80. Unlike other publications, in the following pages the artworks speak for themselves and we instead focus on our thirty-year relationship with an artist who continues to give. (introduction, Anna Jackson, 2015)