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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 12. 5 August 1970

Art Review — The Robin White Selection. Now on display in the Library

Art Review

The Robin White Selection. Now on display in the Library.

Robin White, part-time teacher at Mana College, thinks people prefer older houses because they look more interesting architecturally—concave porches, bay windows and eaves make for attractive irregular areas of light and dark. She feels that in the State housing area where she lives the houses are dull, bland "little boxes".

The paintings on display in the Library express her invironment—Ponrua and Paremata—and the environment shapes her style. Before living here she "was not a landscape painter" but sees landscape as dominant in this area.

The hard-edge style is no gimmick. Robin White thinks it has evolved because it is the most valid way of expressing New Zealand landscape and light. The definite line between hills and sky is essential as is the cloudless sky. The Paremata Hills paintings capture the bareness and aridity of the area. The clumps of trees and bushes complement and emphasise the undulation of the hills.

The Porirua Landscapes are dominated by the houses imposed on the land. The atmosphere of insipidly coloured buildings—their uniformity and mediocrity—is well achieved. The three divisions of sky, houses and foreground reduces the landscape to its essentials. The light that Robin White feels so characteristic of New Zealand is best realised in these three paintings. There is a cold stillness about them contrasting with the two screen prints. Although they too show the relationship of little square buildings to the landscape, the interest in pattern and colour is more evident.

I feel that this New Zealand light thing that everyone is aware of, is limited unless artists say something else about our environment—not only its effect on people but how they express it artistically. The danger is that all New Zealand artists will be painting this way; expressing much the same thing in the same way. At the moment, 23 year old Robin White's paintings are relevant and sensitive expressions of New Zealand landscape. Their standard is promising and it will be interesting to see in what direction her work develops.

Robin White painting

Robin White painting