Friday, January 08, 2010

Ross Creek Art Gallery

My wife and I went for a walk this afternoon on the Ross Creek bush tracks, and I was reminded that more than a decade ago, in my lunch hours, I used to wander around the local art galleries (Dunedin is blessed with an abundance, all within spitting distance), and build my imaginary art collection.

I allowed myself a large sum of money per month (it was at least ten thousand dollars, and may have been more) and with this figure I would 'buy' whatever took my fancy. These days, of course, it's possible I could actually (quietly) photograph the works and keep track of them on my computer, but at that time there was no such thing as a cellphone with a camera, so I used to take notes about the paintings (sometimes sculptures) and draw little sketches of them... An alternative method these days would be to forgo visiting the galleries live and collect/view the pictures on the Web!

What has Ross Creek got to do with this? Is this another one of those posts full of ellipticals? (And I don't mean cross-trainers - elliptical doesn't only apply to that recent acquisition of the word.)

Well, Ross Creek is the site of Dunedin's oldest, and still functioning, reservoir. It's a beautiful spot, with a walkway out to a delightful little 19th century valve tower which presumably had something to do with water control in the past - indeed, it may still do.

Opposite the tower is a second, smaller piece of water. My plan was to 'build' my art gallery there. In fact, as we walked around today I got excited about the whole idea again, and the way in which this building could be designed. Somehow it should meld into the landscape and yet be distinct. I envisage a huge glass wall on the reservoir side so that visitors, when they've had enough of looking at my fine collection, would be able to sit and contemplate the wind making light waves across the surface of the water, and a few ducks puttering around feeding their faces or followed by their young.

The building would sit over the second lake, straddling it in such a way that the lake was still visible, and of course, inside there would be temperature-controlled rooms to protect the art works. It wouldn't be a large place; the paintings and sculptures would be shown on a kind of rostered basis.

And here's something else - if possible, I would rescue the men's toilet room from the old Art Gallery at Logan Park and install it in my building. It was a work of art in itself, particularly the urinals!

(David Hood's picture is from
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