A Surrealist Odyssey catalogue

A 100-page book with 24 colour plates, and black and white illustrations, published in conjunction with the exhibition, by exhibition curator, Penelope Jackson.

Edward Bullmore was born in Southland, attended Balfour School and Christchurch Boys’ High School before attending the Canterbury University College School of Art. Having taught at Tauranga Boys’ College he left for Florence and London. A decade later saw him back at Rotorua teaching at Boys’ High School. He died at the age of 45 years.

Edward Bullmore is considered to be one of New Zealand’s earliest Surrealist visual artists. Inspired by the subconscious, Surrealism does not set out to mimic nature but rather to depict explorations of the mind. The real world is removed from the artist through the subconscious, though subjects often have origins in the real and existing world. Unlike realism, Surrealism has nuances of ambiguity resulting in different interpretations for viewers.

A style not in keeping with New Zealand’s predominant nationalism, Surrealism has not been traditionally included in New Zealand’s recorded art history.

Though Bullmore was often inspired by the land, the very core to New Zealand’s art canon, his work manifested itself in a more ‘international’ manner. Fusing together the landscape and the human figure, Bullmore evolved a very personal vision of New Zealand.

A close affiliation with the land, both at home and abroad, Bullmore’s subjects often derived through his subconscious, were best manifested in a Surrealist style. His awareness of Surrealism was consolidated in London. In the 1960s, London, unlike New Zealand, was very accepting of radical and erotic art.

In the 1960s up to the 1990s New Zealand had little compassion or compulsion to include Surrealism in its collective art psyche. Edward Bullmore A Surrealist Odyssey seeks to redress the neglect of this significant New Zealand artist.


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