Walking in to the Atrium Gallery in Whakamarama, I can’t help but feel the stress of the day lift off. Run by Birgitt Shannon, the gallery provides a refreshing space to be surrounded by paint.
With eyes taking in the colours and scenes, I find my mind gently resting, and I wonder if art makes us somehow more human. It certainly provides great satisfaction, and there’s a sense of the artist communicating to us in a different, personal language.
Three exceptional painters have their works on display at Atrium Gallery during August.
Bruce Hutchinson has a gift of capturing lush NZ bush scenes, his soft distant blues and greys of majestic Southern Alps vistas drawing me in and returning me to memories of standing in similar places. Previously from Christchurch, his love of NZ scenery is evident in his stunning landscapes.
“My style has developed because of my love for art and the South Island,” says Bruce. ”I had always wanted to be an artist but ended up having a career in journalism. While working as a rural reporter, I made a lot of contacts and friends and had a deep understanding of rural high country people. So, when I left journalism, instead of writing stories about what they were doing, as they knew I was starting a career in art, they asked me to come and paint their farms and homesteads. I’ve developed my style from there.”
Bruce has spent eight years working in Cambodia on capacity-building projects. A multi-award-winning painter, his work is in collections throughout NZ and overseas.
Rowena Ashman’s paintings are bursting with warmth and life. Interspersed amongst the landscapes, the confident golds, tangerines, blues, mauves and plums are an embracing pop of colour as she explores her palette. She also experiments with various mediums apart from paint, such as moulding paste and inks, producing pleasing textures and layers.
Tony Price, who like Bruce, has spent valuable time in the South Island, conveys his love of high country mountain scenes, old sheep shearing buildings and farm machinery that takes me right back to all the times I’ve been in South Canterbury staying on sheep farms.
Brought up in Christchurch, Tony’s job as a field engineer took him to all parts of the South Island including the mountains, high country farming areas and the rugged coastlines. It’s essentially NZ, and his paintings also include Bay of Plenty scenes which will delight viewers.
“We’re all members of the Tauranga Society of Artists, and we attend the same Wednesday afternoon open painting session,” says Bruce. “There are at least 50 art works in the exhibition.”
The trio will have their work on show and for sale until August 24 at Atrium Gallery which is located at 21 Plummers Point Rd, and is open from 11am, Wednesday - Sunday.
Birgitt Shannon, Tony Price, Bruce Hutchinson and Rowena Ashman