• Brenda Nightingale
  • Lisa Walker
  • Karl Fritsch

"The Opal Dealer’s Wife is a show between friends. Individual and collaborative works by Karl Fritsch, Brenda Nightingale and Lisa Walker perch on the floor, hang at the wall and balance lightly on planks suspended on an old swing frame. Karl Fritsch presents 20 new rings on clay armatures – indeed it is his chutzpah that drives the entire installation. About his miniature radiata pine trees (nurtured over many months by Nightingale), we register control and mayhem in equal measures all at once. They are contained (as all pinus should be) in wonky Fritsch pots and then nestled into supports ranging from sprung wire and found ply, to a bent canoe paddle perfect from the roadside. They could steal the show but they don’t.

Brenda Nightingale’s paintings, including a couple of very large stretched canvases, have Harry the dog as their starting point. But the figurative referent is all but dissolved by a combination of brushstroke and palette choice, leaving dynamic compositions full of earthy rigour, movement and just the necessary control. They are also hung higher than you might expect and equalised along their bottom edge.

Then placed throughout is a handsome range of new work by Lisa Walker, that is rich, elegant and sits comparatively still. Beads, embroidery and quilting often painted and then drawn upon form the bulk of the material offer, but it is the combination, the surprise of these elements, wearable or not, that is utterly compelling. She would have us part beads to reveal delicate line drawing, as well as stand back to admire form overall.

Karl Fritsch and Lisa Walker appear courtesy of Caroline Billing at The National. Their presence has infused this exhibition with visual joy, confidence and elan. And I thank them absolutely wholeheartedly for that!" JS

Opening Hours

  • Wednesday - Friday, 11am-5pm
  • Saturday, 11am-3pm
  • Or by appointment


  • 52 Buchan Street, Sydenham
  • Christchurch 8023