“Dark Sounds”, Pauline Bellamy (Pea Sea Art)
The deep waters of Fiordland have been an inspiration to many artists, and they are a frequent subject for Otago Peninsula artist Pauline Bellamy. Drawing inspiration from a midwinter visit to the Doubtful Sound / Patea wilderness, the artist has created a series of paintings and prints that focus largely on reflections on the dark tannin-stained waters sound.
The paintings, mostly in acrylic, largely place the horizon near the top of the frame, allowing aquatic reflections to take center stage. This is an effective technique, and washes of color in works such as the Quiet Water pieces allow for beautiful meditations on the movement of light. In other works, such as the acrylic Kepler Mountains and his namesake drypoint etching, the light on the mountain slopes is the focal point of the image.
The wet, drizzly fjord weather is well captured in the color washes that form the basis of three monotypes (Kotuku, Crooked Arm, and Deep Cove), but the essence of the region’s vast void is perhaps best captured, ironically. . , in the only image that features a human presence – the form of a lone kayaker depicted against distant mist-covered mountains in the impressionist acrylic painting Alone.
“Double Down”, Jenufa Waiti
(De Novo Gallery)
Jenufa Waiti presents an intriguing array of semi-abstract paintings in her exhibition at De Novo Gallery. While Jenny Geelan’s exhibition involves removing the paint to create her gardens, with Waiti, painting “frames” are added above the artist’s linear abstracts. In many works, freehand horizontal and vertical line meshes form colored organic grids, on which layers of semi-translucent paint have been added. This is particularly effective in works such as Double Down, in which the layered paint has been deliberately shaded to produce the perception of three-dimensional shapes breaking free from the canvas surface. Works like Tuvix, in which abstract shapes have been layered with an opaque wash of blue, creating the illusion of silhouettes, are also intriguing.
A series of simpler works called Space and Divide is also effective. In these, rich horizontal abstractions of dark orange are complemented by darker block shapes, giving the impression of stylized coastlines at sunset. The illusory nature of these “landscapes” is brought to the viewer’s attention in the space paintings, in which the apparent mountains float freely from the base, revealing that they are the abstract shapes and forms that they really are. This revelation, however, reinforces the appreciation of the works.
“Finding Joy in Troubled Times”, Jenny Geelan
Jenny Geelan uses a process of repeated application and removal of paint to create her bright prints of blooming gardens.
Geelan applies his paints largely by means of a palette knife, and once applied the paint is reduced, the artist scraping off textures and reapplying other layers of paint to build up his boldly colored images. If the brush is sometimes used, it is the scraping of the paint which provides the majority of the structural elements of the works. While few flowers are directly depicted, the formatting of the painting conveys the impressions and implications of the flowers, and the essence of a flower carpet is clearly present in many works.
No color holds sway over the paintings, with strong vermilion dominating works such as Blooming Beautiful, and nearby more restful blues and pinks forming the central hues of Deep Peace.
‘Finding Joy in Troubled Times’ is Geelan’s first exhibition, and the Kingston artist credits the workshops hosted earlier this year by Vjekoslav Nemesh as a major factor in his artistic awakening. Music is also an important source of inspiration for the artist, and his influence is sometimes reflected in the titles of works such as Sonata and Playing With Jazz.