The New Zealand Hills
This exhibition of sixty eight landscape paintings is based on the hills of New Zealand but pursues an interest in line, colour and brush marks more than a purely representational style.
They are painted in oil on canvas with some use of charcoal and graphite drawing into wet paint. Each painting was completed over several sittings, some over a period of several years. They were all completed in December of 2012 and were exhibited in February 2013 at the Queen St Gallery, Woollahra. The works are framed in ornate profiles and are all on 200mm square canvases.
The paintings are grouped into several different series, some of which work together to represent a landscape across several paintings. Each work is numbered with the series and a canvas number.
The first series of six works has a romantic misty representational style that invites the viewer in to an imagined landscape and place whereas works in later series take a more gestural, even abstract, approach.
The six paintings in this series, while still representational, are a little more gestural than the first and introduce charcoal lines worked into the oil paint. The six works can read together as one panorama across a single landscape.
In Series 3 of the exhibition I deliberately pushed the gestural marks and impasto paint further to play with the balance between a romantic representational landscape and the materials and marks used. This is by no means abstract expressionism but if you read these works against Series one and two there is a progression to expressive mark making.
That aside, for me, there is a feeling of place and a nostalgia for days spent working in the hills of New Zealand many years ago.
As in Series 3, Series 4 of the exhibition also uses loose, gestural marks with charcoal and and paint to play with the balance between the representational and the materials.
The fourth work in this series was also exhibited at the d’Arcy Doyle Art Awards.
All the works in this show were pushing at different methods of representing the landscape. These ones begin to introduce looser paint work and the use of more intense colours that get carried through the later series as well.
This group of works heightens the colour further from Series 5. These become gestural sketches of the landscape in paint and charcoal.
In this series I was keeping the intense colour but attempting to bring a later time-of-day into the feel of the works.
The blue sky in these ones proved popular at the show with all of these selling fast.
The next four landscape oil paintings were not initially included in the 2013 exhibition as there was a limit to wall space in the gallery and they have a different style of marks than many of the other works, with lines scratched into the wet paint with the end of a brush.
These two play with the layers of paint, allowing the intense yellow to show through from the overpainting.
When working on all of the paintings in the show, many need to be put aside and re-worked in later sessions. This Series come from that technique and have many layers of under painting that has built up to the impasto style seen here. The use of the white paint as a drawing layer sits forward visually and creates a depth and an expressionist line that leans towards a more experimental end of the spectrum of works in the show.
Although these works are not truly abstract, they push toward that end of the scale across the sixty-something works included in the show. This was a deliberate conversation with the viewer, to pull them out of reading all the works as misty, romantic and representation paintings. With these ones you need to address the mark making.
All the works in they exhibition were painted over numerous sessions in layers of oil paint glazes. With these ones, brighter colours of the underpainting are exposed by scraping and sanding back the top layers.
Similar to Series 15, this group of paintings pushes towards abstraction but has less of the scraping and sanding back of top layers than that series.
Most of these work sold at the exhibition but there are still some available. If you are interested please get in touch.