Marlborough is pleased to announce Susan Te Kahurangi King: Drawings 2008-2018, curated by Chris Byrne. This will be the first exhibition dedicated to the artist’s post-2008 work and her second show in the gallery’s London space. The exhibition will include 20 drawings as well as sketchbooks.
Susan Te Kahurangi King was born in 1951 in Te Aroha, a small rural town in New Zealand. By the time she was four, her ability to speak was in decline, and by the age of eight, she was mute.
As King’s inability to verbally communicate increased, so too did her heightened ability and commitment to drawing. By the age of seven, she was already an extraordinary draftsperson and showed precocious talent. In 1960 the family moved to Auckland and over the next three decades, King continued her astonishing output.
Around 1992, King left drawing behind completely. However, in 2008, sparked by the renewed interest shown towards her work and not long before the filming of Pictures of Susan (directed by Dan Salmon, Octopus Pictures Limited, 2012), she began drawing again, picking up nearly where she left off.
King’s first drawing, following her lengthy hiatus, was prompted by her mother Dawn King. What became immediately evident was the rigorousness of King’s vocabulary, regardless of and indifferent to the time and medium. The artist seemed to be conjuring up a specific realm.
While viewing her post-2008 images, it is possible to discover how seemingly “non-objective” shapes have evolved from the earlier vestiges of appropriated cartoon characters. One can also discover visual indexes of certain objects which get reconfigured and distorted beyond recognition in subsequent pictures.
In 2016, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami organized a survey of the artist’s work, accompanied by a published monograph. That same year the American Folk Art Museum established the Susan Te Kahurangi King Fellowship Program.
This past January, the American Folk Art Museum included King’s drawings in the group show Vestiges & Verse: Notes from the Newfangled Epic. The Museum of Modern Art in New York recently purchased three drawings by the artist for its permanent collection.
'Drawing with Susan’ Saturday, June 30, 3-6 pm
In 2013, King’s sister Petita began running regular drawing workshops — creating an opportunity for people to draw alongside the artist. These events were held monthly. In October 2014, as they would be travelling to New York for King’s first solo exhibition, rather than cancel the usual monthly drawing sessions, they decided to take it with them. Since then, Drawing with Susan events have been included with most of the exhibitions both in New Zealand and overseas.
Drawing with Susan will take place at Marlborough, 6 Albemarle Street, on 30 June from 3 to 6 pm. Participants are encouraged to bring their own supplies.