The Drawings of Susan Te Kahurangi King


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Like many so-called outsider artists, Susan Te Kahurangi King (born 1951) has an origin story--from an early age, she communicated solely through her art. The Drawings of Susan Te Kahurangi King reveals the various periods of the New Zealand artist’s work from that foundational moment: from her childhood drawings, to her notebooks, to her mature work of the 1970s and ’80s up until the point, sometime in the 1980s, when King stopped drawing. Also included is work made since 2008, when King returned to art, showing the artist’s recent moves beyond representation.

King’s surreal, cartoonish work triumphs in dialogue with contemporary painting and drawing, echoing the comic-inspired work of such painters as Nicole Eisenman, Laura Owens and Joyce Pensato--work that similarly draws from the poles of an unfettered vision, on the one hand, and common pop culture iconography on the other. Yet in King’s work we see the unfiltered manifestation of a self-taught artist, whose work is always art and communication simultaneously. In addition to offering a biographical overview of King’s life, this catalogue tracks the evolution of her oeuvre and provides contextualization of her art.