The two bodies of work in this exhibition examine how we see the world through cultural constructs. Both artists create abstraction of landscapes. Catherine Clayton-Smith adds feeling and memory to the visual and Peata Larkin depicts landscapes through the lens of whakapapa.
Palace Paroxetine is the tongue-in-cheek name that Clayton-Smith has
coined for her current studio and this new body of work. It’s a place where (as with the anti-depressant namesake) the anxieties and dramatics of contemporary life can be processed, shifted through and reformed through the play of the formal elements of painting. Colours, textures, marks move; forms appear and disappear, solid and transparent at once, they are suggestions, fragments and hints. There is a strange beauty and a sense of something ethereal, not quite tangible - landscapes of the inner world, mindscapes perhaps.
This new exhibition by Clayton-Smith follows follows her first sell-out show in the Ghuznee Street gallery. Although not yet well known in New Zealand, she has attracted attention in Sydney where she has lived since completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the National Art School in 2014. While a student, she won several awards including the National Art School's Parkers Sydney Fine Art Painting Award, the Studio W Exhibition Prize, the Blank Canvas Award for Painting and the John Olsen Prize for Figure Drawing. Since graduating she has had eight solo exhibitions in Sydney and numerous group exhibitions. In 2018, she was a finalist in the Sir John Sulman Prize exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. She has work in public and private collection.
Peata Larkin creates paintings that combine diverse cultural narratives and knowledge systems. Drawing on her on Māori and Pākehā heritage, she translates, transforms and mixes traditional and contemporary visual codes. The works in this exhibition may be seen as abstract landscapes of the Rotorua region and a pepeha or statement about of her Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, and Ngāti Tuhourangi whakapapa. Black and white paint softly smudged into the surface suggests the thermal and cloud forms of this geothermal and volcanic region. Geometric incisions cutting the canvas reference Maori patterns found in weaving – raranga, taniko and whaikairo.
Peata Larkin has a Master of Fine Arts from RMIT University, Melbourne and a BFA from the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University. She has exhibited regularly for almost two decades. Her work is held in many private and public collections, including the Memphis Museum of Fine Arts in the US. Larkin is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including the Kaipara Wallace Arts Trust Award Residency in 2018 with a three-month residency in, Switzerland; the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award 2006, the RMIT University Scholarship for Excellence and Achievement 2006. In recent years, she has completed several major large-scale public commissions in Auckland including for the International Conference Centre, the Wynyard Quarter and the ANZ Tower.
Read more about the exhibition here