Artist Profile

Ralph Hotere Investment Artist

Born 1931, Died 2013

Ralph Hotere was born of Maori heritage (Aupouri) near Mitimiti, in Northland. He first trained as a specialist art educator and then at King Edward Technical College, Dunedin under Gordon Tovey. In 1961 he was awarded a scholarship and studied at the Central School of Art in London. This was followed in 1962 by his receiving the Karolyi International Fellowship which led to his study in Vence, in the South of France.

Hotere returned to New Zealand in 1965 and settled in Port Chalmers, Dunedin. He was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow in Dunedin in 1969 and it was during this period in the late 1960's that he first began his 'Black Paintings'. These starkly minimalist works include compositions comprising finely drawn lines in enamel lacquer on board. Hotere's use of black, a colour associated with spirituality, death and nothingness, was a major characteristic of his work.

Athough his aesthetic could have been described as minimalist abstraction, Hotere's works often combined an interesting mixture of restraint and expression. This is most evident in his incorporation of hand-written text into many of his works, for example 'Pine', which is based on Bill Mahire's text, celebrated his friendship with well known New Zealand writers.

As well as the Black paintings other major series completed include Malady, Sangro, Requiem, Song Cycle, Rain, Black Window, Baby Iron, and the Black Rainbow.

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