Art seen: 22 December

Light Interference (Refracted Field), by Rebecca Baumann (photograph by Alex Lovell-Smith,...
Light Interference (Refracted Field), by Rebecca Baumann (photograph by Alex Lovell-Smith, courtesy of the DPAG).
"Light Interference", Rebecca Baumann

(Dunedin Public Art Gallery)

The atrium of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery is flooded with colour at present, thanks to the twin installations of artist Rebecca Baumann.

Baumann’s sculptural works make use of existing space in their exploration of light, volume, time and movement. The artist has used dichroic film, a material which, like oil-infused bubbles, creates strong reflective and translucent surfaces which change colour with the movement of light across their surfaces. As such, an observer walking around the space of the atrium will see colours change, patterns shifting and shattering as they move.

The two installations consist of "Light Interference (Spectral Transmission)", in which layers of dichroic film have been places across the gallery’s skylights, creating slow shifts of spectrum from magenta to cyan and yellow across the gallery space, and "Light Interference (Refracted Field)", a serried grid of uniform film-coated perspex forms in a mass array across the gallery’s Big Wall. This display forces coloured light into a three-dimensional form, the angled planes of perspex bringing reflections of the outside world into the gallery space while imbuing them with morphing patterns of colour. As with the skylight, these hues form an interactive display, changing dramatically as the viewer moves around them.

Ancestral Roses I, by Viky Garden.
Ancestral Roses I, by Viky Garden.
"Portrayal of Human Form", Viky Garden and Edward Povey

(Fe29 Gallery)

Fe29 Gallery’s latest exhibition, "Portrayal of Human Form", is somewhat deceptively listed as featuring the works of Viky Garden and Edward Povey.

Although it is true that both artists have works on display, these works sit alongside pieces by other artists, including early work by Robert MacDonald and numerous fine bronzes by Marian Fountain. These works, however, are mainly the icing on the cake of the exhibition.

Edward Povey is represented by a small group of works, among them terracotta-shaded lithographs and several powerful oils, notably the Schiele-esque Bathroom. In Vulnus, the artist steps away from his normal practice of painting from photographic studies to work directly from a model’s pose. The results are more visceral and chaotic than might otherwise have been the case, all to the good of the work.

The majority of the exhibition is acrylic paintings by Viky Garden, on both stretched and unstretched canvas. The unstretched works, with frayed edges showing, create a feeling of psychological distress which suits the women depicted. The soft-focus subjects, seen as if through frosted glass, have a feeling of mental unease. In the more formal stretched canvas studies, the subjects gaze beyond the viewer, as if searching for some understanding of their existence in a hazy middle distance.

Untitled, by Jo St Baker.
Untitled, by Jo St Baker.
"A Round Christmas", various artists

(Gallery De Novo)

De Novo’s "A Round Christmas" has become something of a festive end-of-year tradition in Dunedin’s art world.

Now in its 14th year, it involves the gallery sending out templated round board to local artists, who are free to paint whatever they fancy. The resulting display always makes for interesting viewing, with a multitude of styles and subjects jostling for position on the gallery’s walls.

This year’s exhibition has produced a wealth of interesting works by well-known and lesser-known local artists, and also by artists from throughout the country. Portraits, abstracts, landscapes, still lifes, nudes and animal studies sit alongside each other with their small windows on the world.

For the artists, many of whom rarely use canvas in any shape other than the standard rectangular format, the works are small exercises in composition. For the observers, the works present many delights, ranging from studied landforms by Geoffrey Williams and Jo St Baker through abstracts by Jenufa Waiti, Angel Burns and Gail de Jong to bird studies by Petra Fersterer and Gabby McKenzie, stopping on the way for Philip Beadle’s beachside nude, Ewan McDougall’s psychedelic gathering and portraits by Ann Baldock and Anton Lambaart. There are many fine works here to brighten even the most jaded palette.

By James Dignan