McLeavey Gallery is thrilled to present Maha, an exhibition of new works from Ōtautahi-based, Ngāpuhi-descended artist, Darryn George.
Over the last few years, McLeavey has seen a noticeable shift in Darryn’s work. From highly linear and abstract work with a limited colour palette to soft, figurative and full of colour. During a talk at McLeavey Gallery in 2020 Darryn spoke about the change in his work:
‘I was taught the modernist approach of making art. In the sense that you make an artwork, you critique it, you drop out the parts that aren't working and you make another work. We used another strategy, which was to do the exact opposite of what you’re doing right now. What’s the opposite of abstract art? Go figurative. What’s the opposite of having sharp lines? Having fuzzy lines…What’s the opposite of red, black and white? Full on colour again.’
Alongside the influence of abstraction Darryn has long found inspiration from his Māori heritage. Previously noticeable in elements of his work, such as the restricted kowhaiwhai-inspired palette of red, black and white. In Darryn’s new work he has found inspiration from Māori figurative paintings and patterns that are found in wharenui:
‘In particular the plants - I’ve loved the bold, the simplified forms, the patterning, the repetition and the rhythm within the plants…and also looking at the naive way birds are represented in these wharenui’
In Maha Darryn continues to explore the theme of the The Garden of Eden (seen in All Kinds of Trees) with the figurative birds from Ngā Manu subtly placed throughout these new scenes of Eden. The exhibition title, Maha, which when translated into English means abundant, is an apt reflection of the works where we are immersed into gardens full of glorious colour and nature - trees, mountains, waterfalls, birds and an overall sense of bountifulness.