Art seen: February 12

“They Sailed Away on a Boat and a Wave”, by Emma Butler
“They Sailed Away on a Boat and a Wave”, by Emma Butler

''Yet Another Touch of Whimsy'' (The Artist's Room)

Gently amusing and eccentric art is currently the order of the day at The Artist's Room, which is hosting its annual ''Touch of Whimsy'' show.

A range of artists is presented, all of whom look at the world through a pleasantly distorted lens.

The works form a less cohesive display than in previous years, being dotted at various places around the gallery, but if anything, this adds to the meandering, indirect nature in which the subjects have been treated by the artists.

Portraiture is a predominant feature of the exhibition, ranging from Rachel Garland's slightly disturbing anthropomorphic (or more correctly gynomorphic) bird and rabbit wall figurines.

Rabbits are also a subject of Ian Chapman's moody, surrealist landscapes, and feature in a lovely ceramic work by Kylie Matheson.

Other ceramic pieces include Fiona Tunnicliffe's charming puzzle-cows.

More clearly human forms are the subject of a series of lovely acrylic portraits by Crispin Korschen, while Emma Butler presents a series of excellent images including both human and animal forms, such as The fierce and the fragile.

The show is topped off with a series of small, intricate works in hand-stitched thread on canvas by Michelle de Silva.


“Nocturne: Owl on Stone”, by Bron
“Nocturne: Owl on Stone”, by Bron

''Something Old, Something New: A Musical Reprise in Clay'', Bron (Koru Gallery)

Whimsy is also a major component of the works of Bron (''the artist formerly known as Bronwyn Mohring'') at Koru.

In her latest exhibition, the artist returns to two enduring themes, musical instruments and owls, and combines them with a third fascination, old cameras.

Bron has long identified herself with the ruru on some level, even if only in her memories of the owls from her childhood.

Other early memories involve her father's enjoyment of photography, and these two symbols of memory have combined with an ongoing love of music to create a series of memorable works.

The pieces are simultaneously puzzles and keys to recollection, as well as being a form of memento mori, laments for the fleeting nature of existence.

Some of the simpler works include the delicate wakahuia pieces, the name used both in its sense of a treasure box and also in a more poetic sense as the spirit vessels of extinct birds.

These elegant, distinctive ceramic pieces are in the form of the birds whose name they share.

Contrasted with these are the complex assemblies of sculpture and camera parts which form friendly yet poignant pieces such as Trikon Obscura.

The display is completed by two painted works, the treelike Solo and the darkly luminous Triptych.


“Estuary After Rain”, by Angela Burns
“Estuary After Rain”, by Angela Burns

''Shadows of the Sea'', Angela Burns (Moray Gallery)

Angela Burns has a display of her paintings at Moray Gallery.

The paintings are perhaps best described as abstract impressionist pieces.

These acrylic works on paper and canvas are inspired by the forms of the shore and forest around Blueskin Bay, and capture the play of light on water and land.

The images, expressed in large amorphous sweeps of colour, reflect and reference the ever-changing scenery, the daily fluctuations of the sea, and sunlight dappling through leaves.

Several of the smaller works are mixed media, adding the solidity and harshness of black ink to the acrylic to create works where a fierce depth of shadow adds tension to the blues and browns of the sea and land.

There is a calmness to the repeated horizontal strata which bears comparison to the pervasive aural landscapes of ambient music, and the titles of some of these works suggest that this is no coincidence.

The studied equilibrium of these paintings is thrown into sharp relief by the exhibition's largest work, Through bush to the sea, which is also the only oil painting present.

This piece abandons the horizontal linear structure for grand sweeping curves, adding a touch of dynamism to an otherwise relaxing and contemplative display.

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