They say that ‘the eyes are the windows to the soul’ that is
certainly true of this new series of oil paintings.- Artis Gallery
Each of these figurative works draw in the viewer to scratch at the soul beneath. The narratives display a historical element familiar to earlier work (‘Pakeha’ 2011) and spin dark tales of personal turmoil, judgement, revenge, debauchery, stoicism and sorrow. Depictions of notable persons are: Te Kooti in ‘The Upraised Hand’, Maraea Morete (Maria Morris) in ‘Salvation’ and a haunting likeness of Katherine Mansfield in ‘Postscript’. Fauna also play a considerable part in this show with an array of birds, sheep, horses, dogs and eels making appearance as special guests. These companions communicate a level of symbiotic understanding between mankind and animal where each require the other in order to survive, physically for them and spiritually for us.
"I love the rain tonight, I want the feeling of it on my face"
Said to be the last words Mansfield spoke as she made her way back to her quarters at Georges Gurdjieff's Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, Fontainebleau, (9/1/1923). Tuberculosis brought about her untimely death at age 34 and closed the chapter but opened the book of a woman who struggled relentlessly against the social parameters of the day. Her journals, letters and short stories charter that indelible struggle and we are the richer for it.
Christianity is salvation by the conversion of the will; humanism by the enlightenment of the mind. Amiel.
Maraea Morete's (Maria Morris's) young husband was murdered by Te Kooti's associates. Maraea nearly came to the same fate but narrowly escaped. Her story was one of revenge (falcon) of Te Koooti (kaka) and she roamed the land in his pursuit. Impoverished, she walked into Gisborne and joined the Salvationists, this led to her own salvation and ulimate forgiveness of Te Kooti (inverted hand gesture). The claddagh broach ref: Maraea's irish parentage, Maori iwi - Ngati Porou & Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki.
Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki (Gisborne, c. 1832-1893) Rongowhakaata iwi.
Guerrilla fighter, leader of men and the founder of the Ringatu religion (The Upraised Hand). After escaping from penal exile in the Chatham Islands, Te Kooti and followers exacted a number of murderous raids upon settlers and maori in the Bay of Plenty region sparking a huge tho' unsuccessful manhunt throughout the Urewera. Eventually pardoned (1883) he continued to spread the Ringatu message and fight for the return of appropriated land.
In a time when infant mortality was commonplace, photos were often taken of the deceased to honour their memory. Here the woman blinded by her grief delivers all to ashes and escapes ultimately and knowingly toward her own demise.
Appearances can be decieving and don't always tell the story of ones true personality. Here the lothario relaxes in his simple abode reminiscing somewhat bitterly on more lavish times. He regretfully acknowledges his best years, now behind him are as much comfort as a cold cut.
New Zealand's endemic Longfin Eel are becoming evermore scarce in our rivers.
Here the River Goddess (Wahine Atua) guides the eel to the sea so she may have the chance to breed. These eel can live to over 100 years and can weigh up to 24kg.
To the last of your species, your kind, your kin, your feathered folk of brothers.
You sink your song with ink to skin to scribe the pain of others.
She cares nought, tis worth the pain, aquiver and ecstatic.
For one as her, curse'd lost, who'll wrest a thrill at any cost, she notes the tone hieratic.