Elysian Fields, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Exhibition by Carole Cornes & Richard Cornes
Date: Apr 9 – May 6Space: Main Gallery
Join Carole Cornes and Richard Cornes to celebrate the opening of their exhibition on Friday 9 April, 5-7pm. Professor Emeritus, Roger Horrocks, opens the exhibition at 17:30 on April 9. Roger Horrocks is the biographer of Len Lye, and librettist of Len Lye – the Opera. He has written extensively on Kiwi culture, which you can read more about here. Light refreshments will be served.
The following afternoon, Saturday 10 April at 1pm, join us at CAN for a floor talk by Richard Cornes.
The focus of his floor talk – “The Drawing Tutor – Eight Tutorials in Public Law” – is organised around his teaching public law at Essex University over the 2020-21 academic year; due to COVID, teaching he has been doing via zoom from NZ, back to the UK. As he has taught this year he developed images, both expressionist and abstract expressionist, related at least initially, to the tutorial topics.
Elysian Fields, Aotearoa/New Zealand, 2021, is an exhibition about journeys in identities. Not just the conscious identities we tick boxes for on census forms, but identities explicit and tacit, conscious and unconscious, dialogues with our pasts, presents, and surroundings. Identities we often do not know, even as we live them. Identities we discover as we age into them. Identities, which are personal archaeologies, intimately linked to, and in dialogue with, our places in the world, professional and personal, temporal and spiritual.
A premise of the exhibition is that artistic expression – whether a simple doodle in a meeting, through to ‘real works of art’ – is the royal road to gaining some insight into understanding why we see our worlds, whether work or personal, as we do. A royal road to uncovering a deep understanding of ourselves, and the communities we are a part of.
The exhibition presents the creative works of: Carole Cornes, and Dr Richard Cornes (a senior lecturer in public law at Essex University in the UK). Carole and Richard’s works are drawings, paintings, and posters. Michael Cornes, Carole’s husband, framed all the works.
Carole’s work is presented as a retrospective, and present, of a life of drawing and painting. For Carole drawing began with picking wild flowers to draw and press, while walking the fields around the English village she grew up in, with her mother and grandmother. Before moving to New Zealand in 1960 she studied at the Birmingham School of Art. Busy through much of the late 60s, 70s and 80s, with raising two sons, and at times working part-time, her art always continued in the background; a space for reflection and meditation.
Even in those busy years though she began to think more widely about the role artistic creativity could play in a range of contexts. As a playcenter supervisor in the early 70s she brought art to children’s’ play (echoing, implicitly, Melanie Klein’s use of drawing in child analysis). Working in occupational therapy in the late 70s she used art as a therapeutic creative technique with elderly patients. For twelve years in the late 90s and early 21st century, in Taupo, she ran ‘Brushstrokes’ an art group for those who had suffered strokes. Over 2012 to 2014 she completed a Diploma in Botanical Art with the Society of Botanical Art, London. Never one to stop learning new approaches, since moving to Havelock North in 2019, she has taken up print making at the Keiranga Gardens Art Centre.
Richard’s contribution to the exhibition, and the focus of his floor talk – “The Drawing Tutor – Eight Tutorials in Public Law” – is organised around his teaching public law at Essex University over the 2020-21 academic year; due to COVID, teaching he has been doing via zoom from NZ, back to the UK. As he has taught this year he developed images, both expressionist and abstract expressionist, related at least initially, to the tutorial topics.
Richard graduated BA/LLB Hons from Auckland University in 1991, and was then admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. During his BA he studied twentieth century literature with Roger Horrocks (who will open the exhibition), and was a student in the first year Professor Horrocks led an undergraduate course in Film and TV Studies. After three years practising law at Simpson Grierson in Auckland he completed a PG Diploma in International Law at Melbourne University. From 1998 to 2000 he worked as a Senior Research Fellow in the Constitution Unit at University College London. His major projects at UCL were work on Scottish and Northern Irish devolution, and a report (with Andrew Le Sueur), cited by then Senior Law Lord, Tom Bingham, in support of establishing (as happened in 2009), a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
In 2000 Richard moved to a full time academic appointment at Essex Law School where his interest in an interdisciplinary approach to the law led him to enroll part time in an MA in Management and Organisation Dynamics. A degree he completed in 2019, the MA is co-taught between Essex University’s Business School (EBS) and Department of Psychoanalytic and Psychosocial Studies (PPS). His MA thesis adapted a method for the psychoanalysis of organisations (developed by Essex Professor Emeritus Bob Hinshelwood: https://psychoanalysis.org.uk/our-authors-and-theorists/robert-hinshelwood), to incorporate drawing. He used this modified technique while observing the New Zealand Supreme Court in two cases in 2018 (some of the drawings are in the also submitted set of working slides “The Drawing Tutor”). Drawings made during the hearings were later further developed using water colour. The technique seeks to gain insight into the unconscious group dynamics of the organisation observed.
Psychosocial research skills, and psychoanalytic concepts developed during his MA study also inspired him to take drawing into the law school classroom. As module leader for the first year public law course (with 500 students), he has opened the teaching year by inviting students to draw a ‘constitution’. He then puts a number of the images onto a visualiser and engages students in conversation about what they see in each other’s work. On every occasion, two things happen. First, students’ images echo themes yet to be covered; tacit understandings of what constitutions do is revealed. Second, entirely novel ideas of a fundamental nature, concerning what constitutions do, arises. Not having the lecture theatre because of Covid, Richard has taken the technique online in 2020/21, with students drawing in zoom tutorials around the world, sharing and discussing their work. Discussion of the use of art in his law teaching and research will be included in his floor talk.
Although based in the UK since 1998 he has maintained strong NZ links: submitting and being heard by the Justice Committee of Parliament in support of establishing a NZ Supreme Court; lobbying, successfully with then shadow Justice Minister Jacinda Ardern, and shadow Attorney General David Parker to retain a foundational reference to the rule of law in the statutes which empower the courts in NZ (both thank him, and refer to his work in one of the final debates on the legislation); and finally, teaching for a number of years a course on judges for Otago University’s Law Summer School.