The remarkable visual choreography of Peter James Smith’s paintings move between past and present, utilising history, philosophy, exploration, science, mathematics, art and the notions of the romantic (sublime) landscape. He uses text, cinematic reference and a compelling ability to “deliver” the fact of location and a sensual sense of place. Homage to Descartes overlays the scientific rationalism applied to the nature of the physical universe, the human soul and to the existence of God with a windswept romantic portrayal of a waterfall in Milford Sound that recalls William Hodges famous iconographic painting and in turn challenges how we perceive.
Kathy Barber captures and transforms landscape elements into shafts of light and layered colour. These paintings become poems of spiritual essences and contemplation. In Landforms 53.03 a fluid and seamless light emanates from the horizon lifting a darkened shroud from the land while a vertical transparent mass of light creates spatial awareness and a sense of the spiritually profound.
By simplifying the landscape into abstracted planes and palette knife surfaces of symbiotic colours JS Parker has created a marvellously sustained body of work, the Plain Song Series. He uses music, architecture, geometry, repetition of form and counter-weighting that alludes to the river flats and skies of the upper South Island. These works are wonderful – the beauty of the paint surface evokes the real world of nature, season and location.
Scott McFarlane paints the texture and smell of the land as much as he paints what he sees. His work is imbued with a sense of gothic romance, stillness and remoteness, with atmospherics achieved by a dramatic use of chiaroscuro. In Papanui Cone textured under-layers, earth tones and the contrast of form and shape also present the omnipotent (living) force that lies beneath.
Renowned for their metaphorical qualities, Cheryl Lucas’s vessels convey ideas through form and surface imagery. Each vessel tends to incorporate a body with a body and altered shape with surface information and pictorial narratives while demonstrating her concern with the relationship of form to time and space. In Chalice Framed and Islands visual games of duplicated form are played.