Critically acclaimed artist Bruce Hunt conveys an authoritative sense of location and vernacular, his paintings capturing the enduring majesty of the Central Otago landscape.
"Hunt's epic depictions of the Otago and South Canterbury landscapes are powerfully emotional works which sweep the eye over what appear to be seemingly endless sinewy vistas." (1)
Imbued with the romantic sublime, these panoramic vistas are more than mere documentation. Hunt’s works evoke an emotional and spiritual response to the land. He explores the history, geology and myth that envelops the vast empty tussock-clad hills and arid plains of the Lindis, Danseys and Dunstan Trail regions.
The landscape, often depicted in the glow of dawn or dusk, achieves remarkable depth, luminosity and atmosphere. Masterfully, Hunt captures the subtle play of light and consequent shadow. The muscular geology of the land seems clothed in folds of soft velvet as he layers translucent paint in warm shades over cool to produce an inner radiance.
Hunt spends much of his time traversing sheep trails or old gold mining paths. “As an artist my fuel is the anticipation of discovering new territories but also the seasoned familiarity of places returned to again and again.” (2) There is a sense that these paintings are inhabited both by the artist and the viewer. We are invited into the works, asked to stand atop a lonely ridgeline or evening valley, and consider the tension between the fleeting nature of humanity and the timeless land we occupy.
Remote trails forged through the isolated landscape, interspersed by the occasional water trough or distant fence line, are the only reference Hunt makes to humankind. Hunt has observed the advance of pylons through the Dunstan Pass, and the threat of the Project Hayes wind farm proposal makes him anxious. His affinity with the landscape has led Hunt to stress the “urgent need to keep these few remaining landscapes as pristine as possible.” (3)
Bruce Hunt was born in Wellington 1964 and currently lives in Dunedin. He attended Wellington College 1978-82 and Victoria University 1983-84. Hunt has been practicing as a full time artist since 1983 and exhibits regularly throughout New Zealand. His work is held in private and corporate collections throughout New Zealand, including the National Bank.
1. 'Top Ten', The Christchurch Press, 2004.
2. Artist Statement 2007