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Mangaweka; White Robin; 1973; 1994-0013-1

Mangaweka, White  Robin, 1973, 1994-0013-1
About this object
This is a painting by Robin White. A truck with the name of the town and painting's title in white on the driver's door is parked in front of an example of the small town vernacular architecture that often features in White's paintings. The truck, the building, and the curving hills and lush bush in the background are all handled in White's characteristic style: the subjects are flattened and layered on top of one another, and everything is crisply defined and edged with black lines.

Scenes of New Zealand

In the 1970s White became known for hard-edged images that seemed to capture something familiar about New Zealand for Pākehā audiences. White usually had strong connections with the people and places she presented: family and friends, the semi-rural environments where she lived, and small town vernacular architecture. Her interests tended towards the small-scale and intimate, and often reflected 'alternative' lifestyles. From these very particular starting points, White abstracted her subject matter into highly graphic images like Mangaweka. Objects were reduced to a limited range of colours and tones, and their depth was flattened. Because her paintings' style and subject matter, White was often viewed alongside the painters Don Binney and Michael Smither. She was seen as a 'second generation' regionalist painter whose images answered the call for a national identity put forward by many critics in the 1960s.

Graphic images

Mangaweka illustrates the poster-like quality of many of White's paintings. Indeed, many were made as screen-prints, a democratic art form highly favoured in the 1970s because it was easy and cheap to produce. White's work was so widely available as prints, and so frequently reproduced, that it is now hard to contemplate New Zealand in the 1970s without seeing the landscape - both physical and social - in terms of her iconography.

See more at Te Papa's Collections Online: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/ObjectDetails.aspx?oid=50830

Maker Role
Date Made
Medium and Materials
oil on canvas
Place Made
New Zealand
1005 x 1005 mm
Credit Line
Purchased 1994 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds.
Object Type
Object number



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