The distinctive work of artists Neville Porter and George Gray has a special synergy.
Porter Gray Gallery recently opened in downtown Queenstown, opposite the Steamer Wharf, providing a shop window for their combined artistic talents with Neville’s outstanding photographic works hanging alongside George’s exceptional oil paintings.
“It is a totally collaborative endeavour,” says George, “and we share the same vision for our work and the gallery.”
The concept of opening a gallery to show their work in central Queenstown has been on their agenda for some time and earlier this year they decided to give the venture the green light.
“We didn’t want to look back a few years on and say we should have opened that Queenstown gallery we always talked about,” says Neville.
Once committed to the idea they were fortunate to find premises ideally suited for their gallery. With its expansive picture windows people are drawn into the space which inside offers a complete immersive experience.
The two artists, who are both prolific and prominent in their fields, share a love of nature and New Zealand landscapes which is evident on the gallery walls.
“My work is definitely inspired by my love of the natural world around me,” says George. “What we see or perceive in this world is so full of variation, engaging our emotions in a way that could fill endless lifetimes.”
During the past 30 years Neville Porter has developed his interest in and love of photography following an earlier career in the textile industry.
“I have found it is an opportunity to create my own world view, to be curious and respectful about places while attempting to find their soul. I very rarely follow the obvious landmarks and I create the scene while the viewer’s imagination reads the picture.”
The Central Otago landscape is immensely powerful providing an extraordinary photographic stage, according to Neville, and he loves to hear personal stories which reference how his work speaks to people.
“Such as the farmer who sells his property and buys a picture of a window looking out on to a high country station or a photograph that can be a shared memory of a loved one. These stories inspire me to continue my journey.”
Neville uses a digital camera to make the initial image, then creates a printed version.
“I have in the past used archival inks and printing on canvas or western paper made of cotton but this year I explored a new direction using Japanese Washi paper which has a history dating back over 1400 years. This allows for a quite different artistic expression.”
A self-described fantasy artist George Gray paints almost exclusively in oils on portrait linen.
“ During my many years as an artist I have worked with several different types of media especially when I worked as a professional fabricator. However oils clearly now provide the continual challenge necessary to my practice.”
“I have what has been described as a left-handed dyslexic style and I am often asked if I already know how the finished work will ultimately look before I start. The answer is both yes and no. While I am being creative I make it up as I go and while I often have something of a picture in my mind it is by its very nature allowed to morph, change and grow.”
George says his varied paintings mostly focusing on the natural world are all about resolving issues presented by the creative nature of his work.
“Until this happens the true and final outcome of the finished painting is still to be realised and finally presented.”