• Virginia Leonard
  • Sara Hughes
  • Grace Wright
  • Frances Hodgkins
Gow Langsford Aotearoa Art Fair

Virginia Leonard
Virginia Leonard’s ceramics delight in the visceral. The large vessel-like structures recall domestic everyday items, yet the familiar shapes of vases, jugs, and urns are abstracted, morphed into melting masses of sticky resin and bulging lumps. Oozing clay, resin, and glaze forms are fired mid drip, capturing the precarious nature of Leonard’s physical approach to manipulating her chosen material, which she sees as a proxy for her own body. Her practice is primarily autobiographical, with the pummelling and massaging actions a way to better articulate her personal experience with chronic pain. After more than a decade as an abstract painter, Leonard made the shift to working with clay in 2013, driven by the need to give a voice to bodily trauma saying “chronic pain has no biological value…it lacks both language and voice. The language of my clay making is my attempt to rid my body of trauma and reduce my level of chronic pain.”

Virginia Leonard holds a Masters of Fine Arts from Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design which she completed in 2001. In 2019 she won the Artist-in-Residence Prize in Finland, Open to Art Ceramic Award, Officine Saffi, Milan, Italy, and was the recipient of the Glass House/Stone House Residency in Chenaud, France. In 2017 she won the Ceramic residency at Guldagergaard, Denmark. She won the Merit Award in the 2015 Portage Ceramic Awards, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Auckland. Leonard’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout Australasia and internationally, including exhibitions in Switzerland, Italy, USA, and Denmark. Her profile is featured in the influential Thames and Hudson book 100 Sculptures of Tomorrow, and her work is held in numerous public and private collections worldwide, including Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, The James Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland, and the prestigious Ann G. Tenenbaum Collection, New York.

Gow Langsford Gallery has represented Virginia Leonard since 2020.

Sara Hughes
Active since the early 2000s, Sara Hughes has created a rich artistic language centred in geometric abstraction. Hughes is well established and highly regarded throughout Australasia, with an extensive exhibition history across a broad range of public and private contexts. She has created work on a remarkable range of scales, from intimate paintings to immersive installations and large-scale public art projects.

Hughes has developed a practice that melds conceptual ideas with a complex approach to colour and composition. Her paintings have often featured dazzling geometry and bright palettes, creating striking visual effects that seem to hold an irrepressible energy and movement. Her recent work has explored time and light, and how our days are defined by these cyclical rhythms. She articulates this through a recreation of her own experiences of changing light, working in layers of colour over her canvases to evoke light from specific moments in time.

Hughes has won numerous awards and residencies, including the Francis Hodgkins Fellowship in 2003, the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York in 2007, and the Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Artists Residency at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in 2008/09. She has undertaken a number of high-profile public commissions, including Magma, a large 500sqm painting in Auckland created in 2017, as well as a series of striking outdoor works for the re-opening of Cathedral Square in the centre of Christchurch, 2014-16. Her installation for the New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland is the largest integrated public artwork in New Zealand. Her work is held in many significant public and private collections, including the Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Te Papa Tongarewa, and the National Gallery of Australia.

Hughes holds BFA and MFA degrees in painting from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Her work has featured in a wide range of publications, including Art in America, Artlink, Art in Australia, and Monument. She is included in Warrick Brown and Liz Caughey's anthologies on New Zealand art and her works is the subject of the book Sara Hughes: Feedback Runaway (Berlin: Revolver Publishing, 2009).

Gow Langsford Gallery has represented Sara Hughes since 2004.

Grace Wright

Frances Hodgkins

Gow Langsford is New Zealand’s leading art dealer. For over 35 years, the gallery has fostered and promoted the best contemporary art from New Zealand and abroad, cultivating an engaged audience and collector base. With its primary presence in central Auckland, and a new flagship gallery on the city’s fringe, Gow Langsford has become an integral part of the country’s cultural landscape.

Gow Langsford represents more than thirty established artists. This includes many of New Zealand’s best, along with a number of leading international artists. The gallery has successfully presented over 500 exhibitions, significantly influencing the market for and discourse around contemporary art in New Zealand. It has played a significant role in shaping the careers of many of New Zealand’s most well-known artists.

Gow Langsford will presenting a tightly curated range of artworks across three interconnected booths. This range of exhibitions will cover an exciting cross section of modern and contemporary art practices in New Zealand, and abroad, and present visitors to the fair with some of the best art available in this country.

Gow Langsford has invited three gallery artists to respond to Frances Hodgkins remarkable 1930 oil painting Still Life in front of Courtyard. Grace Wright, Sara Hughes, and Virginia Leonard will each show a new work that engages with Hodgkins’ painting, which will be included in the presentation.

Gow Langsford has invited artist Gregor Kregar to create an onsite installation for Aotearoa Art Fair. Kregar is well known for his innovative, thought-provoking, and sometimes humorous sculptural works.