• Jane Bustin

This exhibition is available to view online here.

I am always conscious of this secret disruption in me

– Katherine Mansfield

Jane Bustin’s works can present themselves as straight-up, face on, unflinching, precise – shaped by Modernism’s call for clarity. Whilst there is an intriguing distortion and shimmer visible in the smaller copper sections where the polished surfaces snare fragments of light and ambient imagery, the greater proportion of these compositions have a highly stilled composure about them… until you move that is.

Once we are “off-centre” the edges of the panels are revealed and so we appreciate their depth and material character, as well as glimpsing unexpected slices of colour and discreet areas with feathery, stained touches. These attributes animate the shallow space Bustin’s constructions occupy and lend greater form and density to the object. Viewed obliquely we are also made aware of the first signs of disruption.

This activation is not just visual but deeply associative. The modernist formality that is signalled on first sight dissipates swiftly as the paintings’ composition encourages this more intimate, circular interview. These are paintings that invite curiosity, not just about their own constitution and their intention but about looking with an inquisitorial eye.

The relationship to the genre of portraiture, not just the wondrous Artemisia Gentileschi Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, is clear and inescapable. I am also reminded of Imi Knoebel’s Grace Kelly portraits where colour and iridescence, proportion and adjustment insinuate character and disposition. By size and proportion, by volume, these paintings sit at the wall like graceful portrait paintings for whom the sitters’ character and dimension might only be revealed by inquisition and time. And like the best portraiture, like the very finest writing, they feel invested with memory and license. It is precisely these qualities that allow Jane to forge such a conversation with Katherine Mansfield and Artemisia Gentileschi.

So whilst we can look upon Jane Bustin’s paintings as being infused with a chromatic vocabulary that feels more European than antipodean there is something in the disruption of the picture plane, the unexpected modernity of the material choices that speaks to the new world as much as the old. This bridging of the old world with new was central to Katherine Mansfield’s capacity to evoke memory – both strong and strange and that desire and ability is what she shares with Jane Bustin.

These paintings will feel at home in New Zealand I know – their clarity and delicacy welcome, their reflection and intimacy unexpectedly familiar.

– Andrew Jensen

Opening Hours

  • Wednesday - Friday 11am - 5pm
  • Saturday 11am -3pm


  • 10 Putiki Street
  • Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, 1021