Clyde’s Eade Gallery is unveiling a second series of solo exhibitions this summer showcasing the depth of artistic talent in Central Otago.
Gallery owners Melanie and Rex Eade recently introduced the concept with impressive results. “Our first exhibition of Alexandra painter Marg Hamilton’s landscapes exceeded all expectations selling ten pieces in three weeks proving that showing a body of work together stimulates interest,” says Melanie.
Eade Gallery specialises in Central Otago art and is a drawcard for visitors featuring a collection of striking paintings, ceramics, sculpture and garden sculpture, jewellery and wirework.
Melanie says the summer exhibition represents photography, painting and pastel works.
“Visual artist Gretl Barzotto is our first artist in January with her landscape work entitled Terreno. Queenstown photographer Neville Porter follows with his stunning landscape images in February and my own oil pastels will be the third solo exhibition in March.”
Formerly trained as an interior designer and more recently in visual arts, Gretl has exhibited since 2010 with works in various collections in New Zealand, Australia and Italy including the Wallace Arts Trust, Distinction Dunedin Hotel, Distinction Rotorua Hotel and private collections.
“The exhibition at Eade Gallery is an accumulation of a year’s work – an intuitive response to my immediate surroundings in Central Otago,” says Gretl.
“The title Terreno aptly describes the folding earthly forms that are suggestive of the vast undulating mountainous terrain here, creating endless layers and depth. Through observation and interpretation these landscape paintings reflect the raw open spaces and vast skies of Central Otago.”
Connection to nature and landscapes is her source of inspiration and was the catalyst for building a cluster of barns on the outskirts of Clyde, with her Italian husband, including a purpose-built studio space.
“ My painting process is a combination of ink, paint and raw pigments which are deposited and embedded onto the surface. Every brushstroke denotes a moment in time and an action, forming a subtle relationship between the colours left on a surface.”
Taking up residence in Central Otago was the catalyst for Melanie Eade’s return to painting and the discovery of a medium and style that resonates with her new surroundings.
“My background in fine art, graphic and retail design is strongly reflected in my recent works,” says Melanie. “The use of form found in the natural architecture of our surroundings, man-made structures and strong use of line perspective shows the influence my architect father has had on my artistic direction.”
She says her solo exhibition showcases the natural beauty of the Central Otago landscape region but also how the landscape can co-exist with functional man-made objects and structures.
“As an artist I look past the original or present function of these elements, seeing the relationship of the “form” to its surroundings. With Central steeped in so much history there are visual reminders everywhere of our past. These “reminders” have also extended to objects from the present.”
Her colourful works are popular and Melanie enjoys spending time talking to clients in the gallery that doubles as her studio.
“I work predominantly in pastels, mainly oil pastels with a black wash that brings out shadows and outlines. This illustrative style requires me to simplify the composition giving it a wonderfully bold, colourful and print like quality.”
An annual family hiking trip and subsequent trips around New Zealand encouraged Neville Porter to pursue his passion for landscape photography.
“I was totally inspired by the grandeur and art in nature – the textures, patterns, colours – safe to say I have always been the ‘tail end Charlie’, last to see the hut but with many stories to tell.”
Over the past 30 years Neville has created an extensive body of work showcasing many journeys around the world.
“It’s a medium that has provided an opportunity to create my own worldview. My solo exhibition at Eade Gallery captures the diversity of the natural surrounds of Central Otago. It encapsulates the strength and diversity of the unforgiving landscapes and encourages the viewer to be curious – ponder the natural beauty, a time before and the minutiae details.”
“Composition is paramount to all my work. Abandoning the obvious landmarks, I concentrate on framing the landscape in a way that encourages a new way of seeing it.”
Neville hopes people find an element of themselves, their memories and life experiences in his work.
“To date, there have been many personal stories shared, for example, the farmer that sold his farm and then bought a picture of a window looking out on the high-country station. This inspires me to continue my journey of discovery.”