Art seen

<i>Summer is a wallpaper caravan II</i>, by Pamela Brown
<i>Summer is a wallpaper caravan II</i>, by Pamela Brown
''A Round Christmas'', various artists (Gallery De Novo)

For Gallery De Novo, this is the fifth year in which the ''A Round Christmas'' exhibition has been held. A variety of artists have been asked to paint on primed wooden circles 200mm in diameter, creating an impressive gallery display.

With more than 100 pieces of art, this collective show combines the talents of 42 artists creating a diversity of subject, style and medium which makes for an absorbing display. Although each visitor to the gallery is likely to gravitate towards their favourites, all of the works are worthy of attention.

Painter John Gillies' distinctive style using a palette knife is always a standout, as seen in Daffodils.

Nic Dempster and Australian artist John Santucci also impress with their architecturally inspired scenes, the former's compelling bright linear style clearly seen in Purakanui Two, while the latter's work is more sculptural and subtle, as in The Beacon.

A touch of whimsy is provided with work from artists such as Pamela Brown, Ewan McDougall and Jasmine Middlebrook, while land and seascape genre is well represented by artists Michelle Bellamy, Maria Kemp, Philip Beadle and Brian Dahlberg. The only photographer is Matheson Beaumont.

His landscape images have been put aside for those of flowers and a very handsome rooster. Like all Beaumont's work, an exact eye for light, composition and palette emanates from these pieces also.


<i>Bloom</i>, by Lynn Taylor.
<i>Bloom</i>, by Lynn Taylor.
Lynn Taylor (Gallery De Novo)

Printmaker and visual artist Lynn Taylor is returning to artwork after recovering from cancer and is using the process of making art as a form of rehabilitation.

Although these pieces are fragmented, each is layered with history and stories part told - the underlying current being concerned with the mapping of memory and erasure.

The artist says of her work ''it metaphorically represents the patching of myself, piece by piece into the present''.

Print, digital, paint and written mediums are incorporated into her art practice with tarnished copper stitching often included in the final work, making for interesting textural compositions.

The 50 miniature-print series creates a snapshot of the nautical, textile and historical themes for larger works. These small pieces are intimate and intense. Other work responds to an unfinished patchwork pattern from the past.

Bloom, a work of art made of blue and white patterned paper hexagons is worked to resemble an unfinished patchwork project. Tacking thread and small white buttons, aid the appearance of authenticity.

However, it is Taylor's large work, Piecing Myself Together Again that takes the eye. Various paper shapes resembling tailor's patterns are printed with images of sewing paraphernalia such as buttons and needles with real thread and domes also added.

This aids the notion of not only piecing pattern shapes together but also of the artist herself. The effect is thought-provoking and powerful.


<i>The Crescent</i>, by Jason Greig.
<i>The Crescent</i>, by Jason Greig.
''The Hors Commerce'', by Jason Greig (Brett McDowell Gallery)

Jason Greig's monoprints provide a wonderful climax as the final exhibition of the 2013 year at the Brett McDowell.

This master of printmaking is inspired by his love of Goya, Gothic art, horror movies and symbolism, creating a body of work that conveys the darker side of humanity.

Greig's current exhibition is elegant and compelling with a subject matter encompassing fine figure studies, portraits, sublime landscapes and a majestic bull. The work exhibited shows extraordinary precision and incisiveness with six large prints clearly demonstrating Greig's skill in this medium.

Three of these works are placed together reminiscent of a triptych, catching the eye upon entering the gallery. The Comet, The Key and The Crescent are each figure studies set against soft metallic backgrounds.

Like other work in the gallery, symbolism surrounds these pieces. Cerebral VI, Murdoch's Downfall is a key work in the exhibition and possibly inspired by Goya's fascination with bullfighting.

The work is highly detailed, the image of the bull beautifully rendered with the folds of its leathery skin clear to the eye.

Although a symbol of evil and death, the bull remains at peace while accompanied by a sinister Goya-like figure. Greig's smaller work also impresses with work such as A Little Bird Told Me, while Happy Soul, a lovely charcoal study, is also worthy of attention, as are the superb hand-made frames crafted by this talented artist.

By Julie Jopp. 


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