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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 7. 1967.

Art exhibits in abundance

page 8

Art exhibits in abundance

Wellington at present is blessed with an abundance of art exhibitions. In the first few weeks of April there were the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Autumn Exhibition, and three minor exhibitions of paintings by lesser-known artists and displaying completely different styles, subjects and techniques. In fact, there was something for everyone.

At McGregor Wrights' Ltd, there was an exhibition of paintings by Don Neilson. The majority of these were landscapes. The small "gallery" looked similar to an extension of the Tourist and Publicity Department with paintings instead of the usual coloured photographs and slides. Although most of the works represented the Wairarapa district, there were a few of the Southern Lake district and other pretty places.

All the scenic works were done in natural colours—which tended to be rather boring; one might as well have gone to the Tourist and Publicity next door and viewed the postcards, although the artist showed definite skill in his treatment of perspective and lighting. The five abstracts included in the exhibition also concentrated on colours that one could see in the object of inspiration; there were three works entitled Theme On A Sea Shell (1, 2 and 3), all of which had central focal points with no definite form. Bush Impression was extremely pleasant, again, with a central theme but more vitality.

Another art shop, Willeston Galleries, had from 4th to 14th April an exhibition of paintings by Derek Ball. This artist concentrated on sombre colours and subjects— the majority of works being studies of old people standing near doors or at tables. Apart from his colours, he succeeded in bringing across his subjects, showing a technical and artistic competence in balance and form and effective use of light. The majority of works were oils but there was a variety of other media, such as poster colours, pencil drawings, monochrome and engraving.

The third exhibition was held in the Centre Gallery from April 19th to 21st of Paintings from France by Pamela Searell. Regarded in the light of her experience (suggested by the title), the exhibition was disappointing. Miss Searell should have been a naturalist for that appears to be her major interest. Her eye for detail is extremely convincing, most of the paintings being close-ups of plants, flowers and rocks with the occasional fossil-like imprint. Her excellent use of bright, luminous colours and light was amply displayed in paintings such as Plants in Winter and Sheils Encrusted with Salt, Bullets Found On A Dead Pilot, although with no apparent central, unifying theme— had pleasant reds and browns with light touches of sea-greens and yellow. Deep forest greens and browns with good lighting effect made up Bones, and Desert Stones I with its flat brush strokes and bright colours was impressive.

All three exhibitions showed works by artists with considerable technical ability which made apparent their effective use of light. However, their downfall seemed to be in their choice of subjects and, especially in the first two, their colours.