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Project curator and university lecturer, Jonty Valentine says “Mark Cleverley’s designs, especially his dinnerware and stamps, are incredibly familiar to generations of New Zealanders but paradoxically his identity, as their designer, is largely unknown.
“This project has been a great opportunity to bring Mark’s landmark career and name to wider attention, so that his contribution to our design history is better appreciated.”
Cleverley was a prominent player in the design industry, both locally and overseas. In 1972, he was accepted as a full member of the prestigious UK based Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (SIAD), and was also nominated as the NZ representative at the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) Interdesign conference in Canada in 1974.
In New Zealand, he won numerous commissions from design competitions, and his works were repeatedly showcased in Designscape, the design industry journal, and featured in the publication’s “Design Index” of exemplary design. He was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship for a research project on bilingual design in 1987; and in 2013, was elected into the Massey University College of Creative Arts Hall of Fame.
Mark Cleverley was selected as an Objectspace Master of Craft by a specially convened panel of curators and practitioners including jeweller Warwick Freeman, director Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins of MTG Hawkes Bay, curator Ngahiraka Mason of Auckland Art Gallery, curator Justine Olsen of Te Papa, design historian Michael Smythe and curator Linda Tyler of Auckland University.
Objectspace’s Masters of Craft is an on-going series of exhibitions that tell the stories of New Zealand craft and design practitioners whose practice is distinctive, enduring, influential and redefining of tradition.
Mark Cleverley: Designer is a major publication authored by Jonty Valentine and Sherry Blankenship, released in tandem with the exhibition. Its contents include a visual catalogue of Cleverley’s designs, a biographical account of his career and practice, and an extended interview in which Mark Cleverley and Jonty Valentine discuss the practical realities of working as a designer and design’s place in New Zealand society.