Channel: Impressive shows at Northart

There is a lot to enjoy at Northart this month – two very impressive group shows across the five galleries, as well as pottery in the window display areas. And later in the month, a further three painting exhibitions, with some photography as well. So if you haven’t been down to Northart and the Northcote Shopping Centre for a while, now is a good time to do so.

‘Cross the River’ together with ‘One Square Meal’ are on view until 14 August. The former celebrates Qixi, Chinese Valentine’s day, with an impressive collection of portraits and figurative works that speak to communication between people and cultures, both obstacles that prevent understanding and aids that facilitate it. In ‘One Square Meal’, four women artists share their visions in a series of works that explore subversive archetypes and mind monsters as well as the formal properties of line, colour and pattern  and the techniques of digital coercion.  

Martin Ward ‘discovered’ potting a few years ago and it quickly became an obsession. The exhibition in the gallery windows will be his second in as many years. Self-taught as an artist, he particularly enjoys pushing the boundaries and experimenting with different and unusual glazes from his Birkdale studio. 

‘4.3 painters and a photographer’ opens the late afternoon of Sunday 18 August. Photographer (and sometimes painter) Niki Hill joins painters Sharon Cowley Vickers, Carole Prentice and Clare Young in an exhibition that highlights their four very individual and distinctive styles and points of view.

Both Carole and Sharon, for example, explore personal history, but in very different ways. Of her series, Carole notes, “This series of small paintings on recycled platters are a wink to the past. My childhood stamping ground; the Tāmaki River where friends drowned, caught in the mud with the incoming tide; the mountain of Maungarei us kids climbed for the view; and the brand new state houses where mothers struggled to cope with the lack of amenities.”

Sharon Vickers works are portraits (but in landscape format) of her beloved parents. For her, the association of clothes with place is formative, and she uses details of clothing, its patterning and  texture, magnified and judiciously cropped, to trigger memories and reimagine and recall past events, experiences and relationships with family.

Also opening that Sunday afternoon are solo exhibitions by Hilary Weeks and Bob Drake. Hilary and Bob had highly successful careers as a medical doctor and draughtsperson/ designer respectively and while they always painted, retirement has enabled them to devote more time to painting. Hilary’s exhibition ‘Fading Light’ showcases her love of animals and deep concern that many animals are in danger of becoming extinct.  Bob Drake’s work furthers his exploration of painterly concerns relating to modernism.  The late August exhibitions continue until September 4.

So plenty to look at, think about and enjoy this month at Northart.