Pat Hanly

Jester of modern New Zealand art

Pat Hanly was an artist and teacher who helped revitalise New Zealand art in the second half of the 20th century. His work ranged from the domestic and personal to that concerned with social and political issues.

James Patrick Hanly, artist and teacher: born Palmerston North, New Zealand 2 August 1932; married 1958 Gillian Taverner (one son, two daughters); died Auckland, New Zealand 20 September 2004.

Pat Hanly was an artist and teacher who helped revitalise New Zealand art in the second half of the 20th century. His work ranged from the domestic and personal to that concerned with social and political issues.

Hanly managed to put over any public message without the offputting glum drabness so often associated with agitprop artwork. His images - exuberant, colourful, feisty and humorous - reflected the personality of their maker - the serious, outspoken yet self-deprecating jester of modern New Zealand art, whose recreations in the New Zealand Who's Who are listed as "kite-flying, sailing, Greenpeace".

He gained a national reputation as a waterborne protester, yet remained the strictly non-textbook yachtsman who could not swim. At his memorial service, there was a "No Nuclear Ships" banner above the open coffin, which contained the lifejacket he would put before getting into his car to drive to the water in the expectation of yet another mishap.

One of Hanly's most notable at-sea encounters was when he took his small trailer-sailer out into Auckland harbour among the flotilla of vessels to protest against the arrival of the nuclear submarine Pintado. It prompted the 1970s picture Pintado Protest. Hanly's sailboats, which first appeared in his "Fire" series in the 1960s and reappear periodically in his work, are symbols of the freedom that he himself experienced on the water.

In July this year a Hanly work, Vessel Attacked, fetched NZ$90,000 (£32,000) at auction. Many artists would have been pleased, but not Hanly, who derided anyone who bought a painting for investment, declaring: "I hope it falls off the wall and kills them."

Pat Hanly was born in Palmerston North, North Island, in 1932. An amateur artist grandfather encouraged the boy's interest in drawing. His attempts to take up boxing and road cycling, at the urging of his father, both proved hilarious disasters.

Pursuing his parents' suggestion that he learn a useful skill, in 1946 Hanly began a four-year hairdressing apprenticeship, at the same time for three years attending evening classes under Allan Leary at Palmerston North High School. With Leary's encouragement Hanly in 1952 began a three-year Diploma of Fine Arts course at Canterbury University School of Fine Arts, where the artist and lecturer Bill Sutton proved a mentor and friend. Hanly proved a brilliant student, the centre of a group which included such future notable artists as Bill Culbert and Gillian Taverner, now a distinguished New Zealand photographer.

In 1957 she and Pat travelled to London, where he attended night classes at Chelsea School of Art and they married. The five years spent in Europe were important to Hanly. He gained several scholarships and grants, from the British Council and Italian and Dutch governments, although trips abroad were commonly on a shoestring budget. A QEII Arts Council Grant in 1980 took him to America.

While in London he exhibited at Gallery One, with the London Group, Royal Society of British Artists and Young Contemporaries, the Edinburgh Festival and the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition. He also had a first solo show at the Comedy Gallery in 1961.

The Hanlys returned to New Zealand, settling in Auckland, in 1962. That was the year of his first retrospective, at the Auckland Art Gallery. In 1963, he began work as a part-time lecturer in drawing at the University of Auckland School of Architecture, but this did not stop him being a prolific exhibitor in New Zealand and Europe.

Through his career, Hanly completed over a dozen commissions in churches and other public buildings. The first was at St George's Church, Takapuna (1962). Others included large murals for Auckland Airport (1978), the University of Auckland School of Architecture (1982), and the Aotea Centre's Convention Centre, Auckland (1990). As one long associated with the anti-nuclear movement, a foundation member of the Auckland Peace Squadron and keen anti-apartheid protestor, it was appropriate that he made the Peace Mural, at the corner of Karangahape and Ponsonby Roads, Auckland, in 1985.

Gradually, all the major municipal, provincial and private collections in New Zealand acquired work by Hanly, also foreign collections including the National Gallery of Australia and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in the Netherlands. In 1993, the Hanly Paintings Trust was formed.

Hanly's luminous, life-affirming works from early in his career had series titles such as "Pacific Ikons", "Figures in Light" and "New Order". A self-styled scientist, in the late 1960s he "discovered" physics, prompting his Molecular paintings, exploring the premise that matter was not exactly solid. The vibrant, lush "Garden" series drew inspiration from the surroundings of his home in Mount Eden, where his small backyard studio was situated.

There he would experiment with unusual materials such as enamel paints and recycle everyday materials as tools for his art. To one visitor admiring the technique used for a monoprint, he revealed that it was a rolled-up sock. Yet he was highly self-critical, destroying many works he considered unsatisfactory, occasionally buying them back to be altered or destroyed.

To Hanly, whose paintings "come hard and leave me hard", the after-life of his works was important. He wanted them to be enjoyed, not displayed as a status symbol.

Family life and the "Girl Asleep" series, based on his muse Gil, were important themes in Hanly's work. The Hanlys were the subject of Pacific Ikon, a television documentary screened in 1998. By then, he had been diagnosed from Hodgkinson's disease, the gradual loss of strength, weight and muscular control impairing his ability to paint.

In the film, with typical good- humour, he remarked, "We are awaiting death with interested anticipation. Some of my best friends are dead."

David Buckman

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game