The Summer Show in Dunedin this year is redolent of the land and sea. The cool blues and greens of glass works from Galia Amsel, Claudia Borella and Ann Robinson are echoed in Ross Ritchie’s lush river valley and the clear skies of Michael Hight’s Tararua Range.
Neil Frazer’s sea is wild, tossed by both wind and wave while Garry Currin’s Coastal Drift hints at the calm, forgotten edges of estuaries. Stanley Palmer and Geoffrey Notman paint scenes that evoke your own memories of past beachside summers, tinged with nostalgia.
The curves of Christine Thacker’s vessels provide a sinuous backdrop to her painted landscapes and Sue Hawker’s floral forms burst with life. Ray Ching’s beasts of the land bound across the canvas in The Crowning Cockerel, the Fox and the Wallaby. Full of contradictions – the implausibility of the subject matter and the deft realism of its depiction, rows of dense text and empty, floating speech bubbles – Ching’s painting stops you in your tracks to wonder at its mastery and puzzle at its content.
Links between the tangata whenua and their natural environs are investigated in works by Te Rongo Kirkwood, Luke Jacomb, Peata Larkin and Paratene Matchitt. Matchitt’s drawings look at the universal threat of conflict and Jacomb’s glass paddles reference the seafarers of times past. Larkin and Kirkwood examine personal aspects of their maoritanga in terms of language, pattern and visual metaphor.
Robert Ellis’ two calendar paintings are replete with symbols sourced from both Maori and European narratives. Based on the form of Maungawhau/Mt Eden, they speak of the natural turning of seasons and our own construction of time. Along from Ellis’ works hangs one of Andy Leleisi’uao’s Pa’ceania series, in which the artist has constructed a layered world peopled by beings who work purposefully towards an end that remains just out of our ken.
Anita DeSoto’s faceless War Widow floats, crowned with laurel, opposite Ralph Hotere’s stunning Winter Solstice in stained glass. The gravitas of these pieces is lifted by the exuberance of Reuben Paterson’s glittering blue kowhaiwhai and the delicate steel clouds and paper planes of Neil Dawson.