This month, Sanderson Contemporary Art Gallery presents two exhibitions — united in a stark contrast of how nature can be represented on the canvas. In one curation, we have Paul Martinson, whose depiction of the Kōkako is a deft masterclass in realism. In another up-and-coming artist, Llenyd Price conceptually explores the relationship between land and people with bold, expressive works.
And so, with both the avid collector and the nature enthusiast in mind, we’ve discovered the need-to-know information about these two exquisite exhibitions, both open from today, Tuesday the 9th of May, until Sunday the 4th of June. Catalogues are available through Sanderson upon request.
Grey Ghost by Paul Martinson
The latest exhibition by painter Paul Martinson, Grey Ghost, unveils a vivid portrait of the South Island Kōkako, a once-abundant species shrouded in enigma. Watercolour, oil and acrylic converge to capture the essence of a creature ravaged by the echoes of Māori settlements, forest clearance, and the relentless march of human progress. Martinson confronts the haunting truth of a population teetering on the brink of oblivion with each work.
Previously consigned to the annals of extinction, the South Island Kōkako emerges from the depths of uncertainty with a whisper of hope. Designated as ‘data deficient’, this elusive bird clings to the precipice of existence, its survival precariously tied to the unwavering dedication of a tenacious few. While some herald its demise, a chorus of enthusiasts persists, propelled by an unwavering belief in its presence. Martinson’s masterpieces witness this testament of resilience, weaving together the threads of scientific inquiry and artistic imagination to resurrect a creature that once danced among the forest canopies. Alongside these brushstrokes of resurrection, the exhibition unveils a tapestry of other New Zealand bird species, including the haunting spectre of the extinct Huia, serving as a poignant reminder of nature’s delicate balance and our profound responsibility as stewards of this fragile realm.
Secrets In The Array by Llenyd Price
At parallels, Secrets in the Array beckons, an intimate collection of new paintings by the burgeoning artist Llenyd Price. Within these canvases, Price navigates the intricate dance between humankind and the sacred terrain of our country. Drawing inspiration from the ethereal landscapes of Waikato and Kirikiriroa, Price offers solace, an escape from the harsh realities that besiege weary minds.
As Price immerses himself in these natural sanctuaries, the ghosts of colonialism and environmental turmoil loom ever larger. The relentless encroachment of buildings, the invasive tendrils of industry, and the stranglehold of non-native flora and fauna assail the delicate balance of the land. With an artist’s discerning eye, Price scrutinises the structures that mark our passage, the fences and paths that weave through the verdant tapestry. In their contemplation, questions emerge of conformity, our collective impact on the landscape, and the subtle ways we reshape our perceptions in the face of a changing world.
This exhibition holds the key for those seeking respite, a momentary escape into the serenity of untouched landscapes. It invites us to immerse ourselves in the solace of environmental escapism, where the land’s secrets and our place within it unravel with Price’s masterful artistry.