Francis McWhannell Writer and exhibition-maker

TagDenys Watkins

No end in sight


To look at Bushmiller as an architect is entirely appropriate, for Nancy is, in a sense, a blue-print for a comic strip. Walls, floors, rocks, trees, ice-cream cones, motion lines, midgets and principals are carefully positioned with no need for further embellishment. And they are laid out with one purpose in mind—to get the gag across. Minimalist? Formalist? Structuralist? Cartoonist![1] —Mark...

Tracing the contours

Scarlett Cibilich and Denys Watkins


When we describe a process, or make out an invoice, or photograph a tree, we create models; without them we would know nothing of reality and would be animals. Abstract pictures are fictive models, because they make visible a reality that we can neither see nor describe, but whose existence we can postulate.[1] —Gerhard Richter   When presented with the pairing of Scarlett Cibilich and Denys...

The importance of experience

On the paintings of Denys Watkins


If his destiny be strange, it is also sublime. —Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea You read about it—how, as he grew older, the 16th-century Venetian painter Titian increasingly abandoned the mimetic precision of his earlier works in favour of a more impressionistic and visceral style. Reproductions can hint at his bravura application—how, with his brush, he created clumps and...

Denys Watkins

Accurate misquotations


There’s only one book in the world, and that’s the one everyone accurately misquotes. —Allen Curnow, ‘An Incorrigible Music’ An admission: these are not the works by Denys Watkins that I was expecting to include in Fluid structures. For a couple of years now, I have admired Watkins’ largely abstract paintings, works populated by organic shapes that evoke, among other things, the alien structures...

Fluid structures

Watercolour group show


The aim of this exhibition is simple: to provide a platform for five contemporary artists from Aotearoa whom I admire. That the show comprises non-figurative works in watercolour, or the closely related medium of ink, is in part a consequence of the many (perhaps too many) hours I spent thinking about the major painting show Necessary Distraction, which opened at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki...

Encounter and exchange

Considering Painting: a transitive space


What painting needs is hecklers, groupies, buffs, aficionados, nerds, family members and fans. —Justin Paton[1] I met Simon McIntyre some months ago, following a conversation event with artist Amber Wilson at Anna Miles Gallery. It was a short meeting, but I remember being struck by McIntyre’s liveliness and warmth, and the fact that he, like me, grew up in the household of a painter. A few days...

Francis McWhannell Writer and exhibition-maker


Francis McWhannell (b. 1985, Aotearoa New Zealand) is a writer and exhibition-maker based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. He is Curatorial Adviser for the dealer gallery Visions, and Curator of the Fletcher Trust Collection, a major private collection of Aotearoa art founded in 1962.