A psychic metaphor in Lego
Did you hoover upstairs? former Gisborne woman Kate Peters asked of partner and English cartoonist Jake Goretzki.
— Um, said Goretzki.
— I asked you to hoover, said Peters.
— I thought you said “make a Lego version of a late 20th century, quintessentially New Zealand painting.”
Goretzki’s masterpiece (pictured) is based on Robin White’s 1975 painting Fish and Chips, Maketu. The hard-edged, geometric form of a classically Kiwi building in a setting laid bare by our Pacific light was introduced to New Zealand artists with Christopher Perkins’ 1931 painting, Taranaki. Perkins’ painting was highly influential in the development of the regional style in New Zealand. Twentieth century New Zealand artists Don Binney adopted the style with simplified, clear cut land forms, but with stylised birds, in his exploration of “the psychic metaphor of the environment”. Binney’s contemporary Brent Wong also used starkly revealed land forms but with hyper-realistic timber villas imposed on the landscape and surrealistic, geometric, sepulchral clouds. White later combined their ideas and motifs in her 1977 screenprint, A Buzzy Bee for Siulolovao, in which the quintessential Kiwi kiddies’ toy flies against a stark sky over a stark hill and bush backdrop dominated by a villa in the foreground.
Goretzki took the hard-edged regional style to another level with little plastic bricks.