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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 2. 1964.

High Standard at Art Exhibition

High Standard at Art Exhibition

There can be no question of the value of an Art Contest for all-comers with prizes as lucrative as those offered in the recent National Bank Watercolour Contest.

The paintings that won the major prizes are all of an unfailingly high standard. This is to he expected from Peter MacIntyre and Wheeler who can be counted among New Zealand's most prominent artists. The winner, Avis Higgs, too, has been steadily making' a name for herself in artistic circles over the past few years.

Apart from the excellence of the winning paintings two aspects of the exhibition make a trip to the Gallery worthwhile; one is the many varied interpretations of the Wellington scene and the other is the impressive though small collection of semi-abstracts depicting New Zealand life.

To the Wellingtonian and those familiar with the city paintings such as Roger Harrison's "Newtown Shops," Rita Angus's "Houses, Wellington," Juliet Peter's "Wellington Harbour," John K. Castle's "Misty City," Colin Allan's "Late Afternoon, Wellington Wharves" and "Boys at Play" in the same setting, Lorna McCartney's "Boat Harbour" and Isabel Braithwaite's "Wellington" Nos 1 and 2, provide differing interpretations that are both stimulating and in some cases surprising.

Roger Harrison's painting of shops in Newtown is outstanding. Those familiar with the area will recognise the typical cluttered, rather shabby appearance, but despite this the artist has given the scene a distinctly cosmopolitan air that is fascinating. The detail is excellent.

It is also worth comparing Isabel Braithwaite, John Castle and Juliet Peter's treatment of the city panorama.

Although there were only a few abstract and semi-abstract works entered this year, for the most part they are excellent. Worthy of mention are Thyza Bindon's "Coastline". E. Mervyn Taylor's "Ebb Tide" (in a class by itself), B. C. Clegg's three paintings, in particular the one entitled "Beach Resort", Elva Bett's two studies of Riversdale Beach and H. B. Ellis's very striking "Landscape". T. Bindon's "Coastline" has the delicacy of a Chinese painting, a distinct blending of colour and line for an effective whole.

B. C. Clegg's style may not appeal to all tastes but the understated colour and definite incorporation of large areas of the white paper into the painting make a refreshing if somewhat unusual approach to the subjects.

Paintings which stand out among the more mundane landscapes include Carl Laugeson's "Wairarapa Landscape", Colyn Nicholl's "Swift Water", in which one can almost feel the moisture in the air, Robin Kay's predominantly brown and black study of "Charred Tree Trunks", Thelma de Lancey's four paintings of the New Zealand scene characterised by her use of fly-away brush strokes, and Selwyn Muru's unusual interpretation of Freeman's Bay, Auckland, colour and perspective making it eerie and leprous looking.

Also of note are Majorie Naylor's "Sand Pattern, Ligar Bay, Takaka" and the outstanding painting of Fisher's Haven. Stewart Island, by D. J. Spittle a most painstaking and exact work.

David Barker's two landscapes Takatu Beach" and "Herefords. Takatu" are executed in his distinctive style using torrid colours, purples, oranges and reds, and creating a feeling of vitality and warmth.

The mural entries this year were disappointing and with the exception of the four winning works, were of a low standard. Colin Wheeler's treatment of "The Coaching Era in New Zealand" was outstanding and indisputably the winner. Celina Ballantine's mural of Te Kauparaha warrants second place. David Barker's mural is a little contrived and would not improve in enlargement although the initial design is clever.