• Various Artists

This exhibition plays with the usually understood definitions of ‘placeholder’; - a person or thing that occupies the position or place of another person or thing – sometimes temporarily, or as a substitute for something that is not known or must remain generic.

The artworks selected from The Suter’s collection for this exhibition reference the Nelson Tasman region; some in direct ways – such as the detailed watercolour representations by John Gully and J C Richmond, created in the nineteenth century. Today, these paintings allow us to see places as they once were - holding a place at a point in time, now one hundred and forty years ago. But are they as topographically accurate as we might suppose them to be, given that they are actually studio compositions, compiled from sketches and memories of place?

Gully, Toss Woollaston, Irvine Major, Robin Slow and Enga Washbourne are some of the artists who have made this region their home and spent much of their careers endeavouring to capture the essence of this place. Others such as Cedric Savage, Leo Bensemann and Doris Lusk found the landscapes here inspiring, and often as a stand-in for other ideas,- about time and change. Their distinctive approaches to depicting this region can become the lens through which we begin to see and appreciate features of our environment and become the placeholders in our minds’ eye.

More recently produced works, by artists Michael Dell, Caroline McQuarry and Jay Hutchison reference places in this region, often in their titles, or as part of their working process. Whilst specific locations were the starting points for their artworks, the resultant images have a genericness-they have a familiarity, but they could curiously, also be anywhere.

Opening Hours

  • Open daily, 9.30am - 4.30pm


  • 208 Bridge Street
  • Whakatū, Nelson