BOYS TOYS “not just for the boys”
On the inside cover of our Tauranga arts magazine Creative Beat is a fullpage advertisement for another innovative Lightwave Gallery exhibition. Boys Toys opened on 15 May 2014 and was initially scheduled to run until 08 June 2014. So successful has this exhibition of the highly varied work of well known locally exhibiting artists been that it is now to run until 30 June.
The formal opening was the usual well catered, well attended and organised Lightwave evening. Several locally living artists were more formally attired than usual and I learned they were also attending the Rotary organised charity art event and auction at Ingham Sears.
It must have been particularly pleasant for some of those exhibiting at Lightwave as by the time I left there were highly visible round red stickers attaching to works. While not packed to the gunnels the gallery was so full of people I couldn’t actually see all the works. So a day or two later I go back for a proper look and while I’m there I there two more of the not inexpensive works were purchased in minutes by passersby.
This exhibition is worth going to look at, and perhaps take young people to see, because of the range of styles and skills evident in the finished works. Director Karen Wright tells me they believe the exhibition is successful because of its diverse content and very good price range. Karen shows me the limited edition prints of Ross Jones which Lightwave has for sale both framed and unframed in beautifully printed protective cannisters. In effect it’s two art works for the price of one with these containers.
Lightwave is most probably not sited where you would think a gallery would succeed. But Light wave is now a known destination and increasingly a seller of art and artefacts to both the local and visiting public. The gallery is located at 31 Totara Street, Mount Maunganui and is in walking distance of the Mount Maunganui retail area. There is free parking on Totara Street or off street parking directly in front of the gallery which can also be accessed from a rear lane.
TREASURED ART precious pieces released at Ingham Sears: A Rotary Club of Tauranga Sunrise Project
It’s the day after the evening of this regular Rotary organised and corporate sponsored charity art event. There is a large collection of art and those adorable little red stickers abound on both auction and priced art sale works. The best description of the work is that it is an ecelectic collection of works by some of the most well known names of the Tauranga art world.
The works are displayed in the modern and glass fronted premises of Ingham Sears Mercedes Benz. The only jarring note for me is that the display stands are pale blue. I’ve obviously spent too long in galleries and sales as I now expect the convention of white, white, white to be observed. Having got over that, this project is another example of the Rotary community organisation and the willingness of the successful arts community to participate. My time in Rotary introduced me to a number of successful people who were prepared to put their money where their mouth was! Look forward to hearing what was raised for Kiwi Can.
IN THE SHADOW OF MAUAO
There was a time when Mount Maunganui was famous as a New Year’s holiday spot for the young and not always perfectly behaved young New Zealander. That’s long gone and now the Mount Maunganui suburb of Tauranga is an upmarket and interesting collage of housing, restaurants, cafes, boutiques, galleries and stores. It’s also starting to spread outside it’s traditional main street focussed boundary with cafes, shops and gallery developments appearing on the historic retail fringe and on the main entry way.
Sisters & Co. stands on the entry corner to the traditional Mount shopping street – it’s a flagship of style. I love going into this elegant boutique-style store – it’s beautiful everything. Today I’m looking at the work of art which is the Sister’s partly restored and highly polished concrete floor. It’s a beautiful, multi-patterned abstract. The pattern and design created by the historic web of cracks, scars and gouges of former years. An area of erratic loss of the underlying smooth concrete surface forms a shoal of fish. This floor adds so much to the overall style and ambiance of this space.
Above this unintended art work the design and presentation of this destination store – a store because it’s far more than a shop is artistically excellent.
A bank of glass-topped display units hold leather, jewellery, scarves – regimented Aladin’s treasure caves of style. Large white shelves hold a collection of new season’s shoes, boots and bags.
Below the unique changing room doors the filtering light through the designer chairs generates a uniform row of flower patterns on the floor sheen.
The word “flagship” has been given to stores like Smith & Caughey, Kirkcaldies and Ballantynes – the titans of retail style. Sisters & Co. is the Mount shopping centre’s flagship of style.
There’s a florist in the middle of the Mount main street – Brambles pushing it’s way into the pavement creating a roadside picture. Clear scarlet bromiliads shout at delicate boxed white cyclamen. A strong fragrance calls me towards the shop – I inhale.
Established gallery Zohar in mid-Mount is another of those galleries where you could stand for three hours and not see everything beautiful and interesting that’s in there. There’s a great range of art and artcraft much with New Zealand and kiwiana themes of undoubted appeal to the visitor and the patriotic.
There is a small dedicated gallery area in which the work of local artists is cyclically exhibited so calling in to Zohar on a regular basis would be a must. The employee who speaks to me is helpful and informative – the kind of person who gives New Zealand a good name!
Years ago in High Street in Auckland was a small store called Form. It displayed and sold beautiful glass, china, stainless steel and enamel ware, mostly of European origin. I’d walk down from the University through Albert Park back into High Street and stand and stare into Form and its domestic and residential works of art.
Paper Plane on the opposite side of the Mount shopping area holds the same fascination for me – well not perhaps the examples of taxidermy including Percy the Possum with the immortalised stare of the orange eating Percy of my back yard.
Paper Plane is not particularly big but it’s very light and bright with a light wooden floor giving it a great feeling of spaciousness. It has an eclectic and sometimes eccentric collection of designer and environmentally considerate items. There is a row of classically coloured early Penguin paperback reproductions, Tivoli radios, natural brushware, bamboo light shades, beautiful balls of real string, art works and leather bags (I think they are goat skin) so soft you want to rub your face against them. There’s furniture of original design, permanent paperbags, fragrances – it’s endless.
This isn’t an advertisement for Paper Plane it’s a suggestion you go and see the wonderful diverse collection of art and artcraft that epitomises the philospohy of William Morris of “have nothing in your home which you do not love.”
If there is anything the complete oppostite of the understated elegance of Sisters & Co., Brambles and Paper Plane it has to be Old Grumpy’s Gallery. Becase it is what it is and is so overtly proud of what it is and it is done so well its kitsch glory is an outstanding contribution to the style and interest of Mount Maunganui. Add to that the personalities of the owners and it’s a destination to visit.
There are tables and chairs outside and banana boxes of books parade in the Autumn sunshine. Books inside are ordered by topic and the topics run the gamut. There are reproduction cartoons, china thimbles and objet d’art for sale along with reproductions of early New Zealand postcards, old records, musical instruments and probably things I’ve not yet seen.
At the front of the gallery two sofas flank a big low table where you could sit with a coffee or tea and read away an hour or two. There’s an oversize wooden library-type table and chairs at the back amidst the bookshelves; when I’m in there a long conversation is taking place.
Make sure you take the children through Old Grumpy’s Gallery. In this age of ipads and disappearing bookshops it’s more an educational experience than a retail space.
We often say there’s something “European” about Wellington and Melbourne with their collections of stylish shops and galleries and “people”. Mount Maunganui has developed that feel. You could spend a day there swimming, walking on the boardwalk, looking in the shops, stores and galleries and eating in one of the eateries spilling over the sidewalk. The area also has the benefit of the regular Coronation Park outdoor exhibitions by the Tauranga Society of Artists, the stylish Little Big Markets, the Vintage Market and the Sunday Farmer’s Market in the mid-town carpark. Not been there for a while? Go and have a look.