Although relatively well represented by his work in the collection of the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Grant Lingard (1961-1995) is an artist whose arts practice is impossible not to associate with the 1980s. Yet undoubtedly it also transfers that decade even in just the nature of the materials of his work in mixed media, painting, sculpture and assemblage.
Born in Greymouth and a graduate from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, the Ilam Campus Gallery opens TRUE LOVE: a Tribute to Grant Lingard to run throughout May. Reflecting on Lingard’s art and life, artist Richard Reddaway.discussed the artist’s life and art:
Grant Lingard was many things: from a West Coast mining family, he was a snappy dresser, an avid collector of everything from action-toy figurines to records, a Punk Disco dancer, a storyteller, an instigator of the Christchurch Artists’ Collective, companion to his black cat Black Cat, a graduate of the School of Fine Arts programme, and, of course, a gay man at a moment when attitudes towards homosexuality, and the law, were changing.
If he has the distinction of being considered one of our leading gay visual artists, he was also a victim of the tragedy that struck the community in the 1980s: AIDS. With his death Aotearoa New Zealand lost an artist and art activist of significance too soon, his legacy left barely revealed. Perhaps this is a failure to acknowledge “queer art heroes”, or because the 1980s are easy to forget, or because his work had ephemeral, feral qualities that make its collection and preservation difficult.
While TRUE LOVE cannot fill the void, 25 years later, we hope to contribute to an ongoing discussion about this wonderful person. It is our (im)provisional response to Grant, his memory, his artwork.
TRUE LOVE features Grant’s art alongside that from Bronwyn Takle, Diane Miller, Gary Freemantle, Gina Ferguson, Graham McFelin, Jeremiah Boniface, Jessica Douglas, Julian Holcroft, Grant Takle, Michael Armstrong, Paul Dew, Paul Johns, Paul Rayner, Peter Derksen, Richard Reddaway, Ruth Watson, Sara Ayad, Sandra Bushby, Seraphine Pick, Simon Morris, Teri Johnson, Terry Urbahn and Trevor Fry. Catalogue essays by David Herkt and Peter Derksen.
TRUE LOVE: a Tribute to Grant Lingard
Ilam Campus Gallery
Off Clyde Road
April 30 - May 28
- Grant Lingard with Box of Birds. Photograph: Stuff Pty Ltd