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A call for artworks by one of Central Otago's best known artists has gone out in preparation for a big exhibition in Alexandra.
Memorabilia relating to Alexandra artist Elizabeth Stevens was also being sought for the February 10-April 29 exhibition, which would be the biggest showing of Stevens' works and the first since she died in 2009, Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery general manager Maurice Watson said.
Stevens had been the ''most prominent'' Central Otago artist of her era, mentoring many other artists and being one of the first to paint abstract or ''pixelated'' pictures or deserted Central Otago landscapes with planes or blocks of colour, he said.
''She was certainly the most prominent person doing that sort of work. It has a relationship to cubism, but it really is just abstracting the image, but still with enough there that people can see the thing, that it's a woolshed, for example ... She just wanted to see the world surrounded by light. That was how she described herself.''
Central Stories has a collection of about 30 of Stevens' paintings, of which about 10 will be included in the upcoming exhibition.
They would include the painting Differing Realities, which was bought by Central Stories last year after a successful public campaign to raise the $3000 needed to buy the artwork.
The painting, although exhibiting some of Stevens' trademark techniques, was in fact more important for what was on the back than the front, Mr Watson said.
It had a letter on the back by Stevens, in which she wrote about ''how she sees the world and how she is trying to paint''.
In the letter, Stevens said the painting ''expresses perfectly the feeling I have about 'space', and the way I have of trying to achieve it in my work. The image of being 'visually surrounded by an imaginary 3-dimensional world' is probably the most important aspect of my painting''.
Mr Watson said another 40 of Stevens' artworks loaned by public galleries or private collectors would feature in the upcoming exhibition. Some of the paintings had never been seen by the public before.
He was trying to locate more of Stevens' artworks. It was thought she had turned out about 750 paintings over her 40-year career and, as she catalogued much of her work, her family had images of many of the paintings she had sold. Stevens had exhibited regularly, and her artworks were now thought to be scattered throughout the country.
Mr Watson said more information and memorabilia was also being sought about Stevens, to build a firmer timeline of her life and career and add to the database being developed by Stevens at Central Stories, in Alexandra.
Anyone with information about Elizabeth Stevens and her artworks can contact Maurice Watson on (03) 448-6230.