We met Fergus through Photospace Gallery, and last week we were shocked to learn that he had died. We found out from Facebook, as you do these days. No one is certain, but it's probable he had a stroke or heart attack, dying peacefully in his sleep. He was 69.
Fergus was a regular visitor to Photospace Gallery, even before he had an exhibition here ('Romance on the Menu', Jan-Feb 2001). Often he would respond to an exhibition with a poem. Choosing a pen from his shirt pocket pen-holder, he would write a poem on the back of a gallery catalogue sheet or on paper he carried for the purpose. The last time we both saw Fergus was at an exhibition by Glen Burrell at Potocki Paterson Gallery, late 2017, where he once again gave us a poem. A highlight was when Denise and I went to Fergus's house for the first time to purchase one of his paintings, which we still have.
Fergus was warm, inclusive, thoughtful, accepting of everyone, and never seemed to have a bad word to say about anyone. Wellington will be a lesser city without his unique presence.
Searching an old gallery hard drive, I came upon a folder of a couple-hundred photos that Fergus had taken on his first digital camera. They are mostly interior details, and should be familiar to anyone who has visited his Wilson St cottage. Here is a selection of Fergus photos..
Andrew Ross - 'Portrait of a House' exhibition. 2nd Dec. 2017 - 27th January 2018, Photospace Gallery, contemporary new Zealand photography, Wellington.
With a nod to the late Robin Morrison's first book, 'Images of a House', Wellington large-format photographer Andrew Ross explores the ambience and history of an older, private house in Masterton, a place with personal connections for him.
Ross's black and white photographs have been widely collected by institutions and private art collectors, and he has exhibited at least annually at Photospace Gallery since early 1999, where a large collection of his work is held.
See Andrew Ross - Artist information.
Photospace Gallery will be closed for a number of days between 23rd December 2017 and 14 January, 2018.
Best course: email me at email@example.com
Earthquake strengthening work on the facade of this building
This was supposed to be happening around now-ish but now looks like starting sometime in January - maybe. Who knows? Not me.
Anyway, when it happens, Room 1 of the gallery may be inaccessible for a few weeks. This could potentially affect the Andrew Ross exhibition, but probably not the Su Hendeles exhibition, which is in Room 3 at the back of the building.
My advice: come and see the Andrew Ross exhibition between 2nd December and 22nd December - this year. We may have to re-hang the exhibition in a smaller space next year. I don't know at this stage, but that's one option if Room 1 is closed during part of January. Keep an eye on the gallery website and Facebook page for updates.
Artist statement for this exhibition - below
Photography Matters II