It’s the first exhibition for each of the three artists currently showing work in the Creative Tauranga Gallery areas. There are three discrete bodies of work. Other than that they are all hanging on the wall, there is no relationship between these exhibitions: and that’s what is so interesting and exciting
I was delighted when I was given a graphically minimalist Angela Croft business card with a handwritten invitation to her forthcoming exhibition. I immediately promised I would be attending the opening. Angela’s a relative newcomer to Tauranga from the UK via Rotorua. A graphic designer and artist, her artist’s statement says she incorporates her, “manual drawing skills with computer aided design and graphic design to produce paintings which are illustrative and narrative and full of impact.”
What are they? “Fictional British pub signs” They are almost wickedly funny. Because of the style of painting and pub-sign background they would look at home in a contemporary “French Country” setting or the media or entertainment area of some large and expensive modern home. If you stand and look you’ll see they are irreverent. As I drove home after the exhibition opening I tried to think what they were prickling away at in my mind – Chaucer – that’s what.
Angela’s explanation for the style “….one of my first ‘culture shock’ moments when I moved to New Zealand from the UK was the difference in the ‘pub culture’ that I had grown up with. These signs are a fun way to remember my ‘local’. Beautifully executed, very clever works of art in this first solo flight by Angela Croft.
The largest collection of works is Cole Jamieson’s ‘100 prints in 100 days’ Cole’s artist’s statement refers to the teaching method of Michael Bierut – 100 days. Cole, a graphic designer with 15 years experience decided to challenge himself to get out of his comfort zone and create and learn: so there are 100 prints. Diverse topics. I immediately want the tearful John Key. Without denigrating the artistic merit of these prints, Cole has created a hugely commercially useable body of work. They have been immaculately printed by local company Fletchers in Wharf Street, Downtown Tauranga. Make sure you allow sufficient time to look at each and every one of these 100 prints.
Bay of Plenty based graphic designer and illustrator Hannah van Geel has her first solo exhibition in the Willow Gallery. “…concentrating predominantly in the illustration field Hannah’s work is a whimsy mix of inky, beautiful and soft – a world where femininity and nature collide…” Hannah has a degree in visual communication with a background as a professional illustrator and graphic designer. (Hannah is available for commissioned illustrating and collaborating.)
Because of the physical size of her works, Hannah’s exhibition seems to be the “smallest” exhibition. The images often include the sea and a surfer and sea, surf and sky colours so it’s hilarious that my favourite piece in this exhibition is “Big Buns” an asymmetrical black and white portrait of a sunglassed younger woman with her hair tied in the same way mine was “in my younger days”. I adore the graphic feature of the bright red lips and one bright red fingernail. I squeak as Gallery Curator Millie Newitt attaches a sold sticker to this little beauty. Then, I smile it’s a personal purchase for Millie. Ages apart this image resonates with us both.
Taste is personal. So it’s my personal opinion that collectively the work of these three artists combine to produce one of the “best” exhibitions I’ve recently seen at Creative Tauranga.
The opening was “an event” – beautifully presented food and drinks and a large and appreciate crowd. Cole’s connections with the Bay of Plenty Times ensured a professional photographer was on hand and there many “snapped” in front of the “indulge” promotional backdrop. It was an excellent effort.
If you are a visitor to Tauranga, the Creative Tauranga Community Gallery is on the corner of Wharf and Willow Streets, Downtown Tauranga. There are carparking buildings in the Downtown area, paid outdoor and roadside parking all within easy walking distance. For more information: www.creativetauranga.org.nz
Information regarding the artists’ backgrounds provided to me by Creative Tauranga.
Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.