Tauranga Art Gallery’s Festival Exhibitions


Eclectic, varied, diverse, different – the Tauranga Art Gallery seems to be able to fill the Gallery with themed exhibitions with artists of completely different styles. I think this is one of the reasons visiting the Gallery is so interesting. If you only have time for quick visits you could do so repeatedly and not lose anything at all by viewing each gallery separately.


The first Anya Sinclair painting I see is so luminescent that I go back to the Gallery reception desk to ask if the paintings are backlit. I’m apparently not the first person to enquire. But no, the emanating glow of light is the result of painterly technique. The paintings are as if I am in the bush with the scraps of sky and pieces of light. The painting “The Garden of Forking Paths” reminds me of that little stretch of road into Rotorua where you drive between and beneath the trees (please don’t tell me they’ve widened the road). I always love that section of road and often think of driving back just to feel that magical forest enclosed feeling again.

These are beautiful memorable visions of light, shade and depth. Not all the paintings are New Zealand set and visits to relatives in Australia are remembered in “Blue Forest” and in other paintings I see clearly the Switzerland and England that I have seen.

This exhibition will be showing until 8th February 2015 in Gallery One.

WHALE YEARS Gregory O’Brien

O’Brien’s work in The Vault are totally different from those of Sinclair. This is not a criticism, just a statement. There’s an almost Egyptian tone and feel to some of the seabird images and a spaceship appearance to some of the architecture. Some of these were works I’d like to take home.

This exhibition will be showing until 8th February 2015 in The Vault, Tauranga Art Gallery.


Macleod’s exhibition, curated by Gregory O’Brien, is the primary exhibition in terms of size at the Tauranga Art Gallery at the moment. It’s been extensively advertised across all media and most probably will be a great summer holiday draw card for arts visitors.

The huge 12 canvas Whakaari/White Island dominates the Atrium entry gallery. Our insignificance against the power of the volcano and nature is clear. Upstairs I move toward and away from large and small works to find my person “view point” that spot on the floor where I think a work is best seen by me. “Big Rocks and Snow” has aircraft viewed mountains and a climber in believable closeup. There are paintings which contribute to the exhibition title and bring to mind Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar quotation “..why man he doth bestride the narrow world like a colossus…” only here I get the feeling it’s more about our insignificance. I love “Early morning Panachilna, 2008” with the hard orange light and the dark of the painter’s morning. Same for the four small canvases of the progress of a fire – they require you to stand and look for quite a while. And I’ve put a line of ticks against “Man and Penguins”. “Self in mirrored doors” is my kind of self-portrait. Some of the paintings of Macleod’s father rather creeped me out.

In my notebook I wrote “I think how amazing it is that such life and energy can be conveyed by light and shade rather than precise detail”

This is a comprehensive exhibition of Macleod’s work and his life. The paintings require you to look at them not walk by them. Therefore when you go to this exhibition make sure you give yourself sufficient time to look.

This exhibition will be showing in the Atrium and the Long and Window Galleries until 22nd February 2015.


I don’t understand Blackburn’s abstract paintings but I like them and would like them in my home. They may have been meant to sombre but I find them funny and full of life. I love the hard colour contrasts and the simpler repetitive graphic shapes.

Jonathan Jones wrote in The Guardian on 2nd October 2014

“But only part of the content of an image is determined by the artist. The

rest is born in the mind of the person looking. What you see is not what you

get – it is what you bring….”

This exhibition will be showing in the upstairs Cube Gallery until 01st February 2015.


On the landing of the staircase are four anti-whaling themed works. They are all very beautiful and very different stylistically. One or two are by artists whose style I immediately recognise. Make sure you see these embodiments of artistic protest.

The Tauranga Art Gallery at 108 Willow Street, Tauranga is open daily from 10am to 4.30pm. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated. Telephone 07 578 7933 visit the gallery website for updates of events and exhibitions www.artgallery.org.nz

You might also like to look at the Friends of the Gallery promotion – give a Friends membership as a Christmas gift to family, friend or employee.

Rosemary Balu


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