In August, Ross Murray has a solo exhibition opening at Te Kōputu a te Whanga a Toi in Whakatāne. The show is titled ‘Traverse’ and is a collection of New Zealand travel prints. We caught up with Ross for a brief chat.
Tell us a bit about ‘Traverse’.
Travel posters are something I’ve always loved. NZ has a really rich history of tourism artwork and I definitely took some inspiration from some of the amazing artists that were working here around the middle of last century for the work that features in the exhibition. The pieces began as a series of personal works but they eventually came to be licensed on a range of products that have proven fairly popular with both tourists and kiwis alike. For ‘Traverse’ I’ve expanded the series to include some more locations including Whakatāne which is also my hometown.
Why do you think the art of travel posters resonates with so many kiwis?
Well, we’re a nation of travelers. We (or our ancestors) came a long way to get here and I think anyone who travels so far to make a new life has to be quite idealistic. Travel posters have a real romanticism and idealism to them so visually, I think there’s something that resonates with that spirit. And generally speaking, kiwis love their birds…
Do you have a favourite place in NZ?
As a kid, I spent several summers camping at Hahei and I have very fond memories of Cathedral Cove. Closer to home, I’d probably say Ohope. My great grandfather built one of the very first baches at Ohope and I’ve spent a lot of time swimming there over the years so it’s a pretty special place for me.
TRAVERSE: A collection of travel prints by Ross Murray
The art of the travel poster has played a role in both New Zealand’s tourism industry and art history. It is simultaneously a commodity and a piece of our cultural heritage. Traverse fits into this tradition and builds on a series of pieces that have adorned a range of products from postcards to tea towels. As the collection of scenes traverses NZ from north to south, the artwork traverses contexts from the commercial to the cultural, all the while celebrating the natural beauty of Aotearoa.
‘Traverse’ opens to the public on 17th August and runs until 26th October at Te Kōputu a te Whanga a Toi. Visit whakatanemuseum.org.nz for more details.
Prints of the work featured in ‘Traverse’ can be ordered from endemicworld.com from August 17th.