…At the Galleries
WEEKEND HERALD, Saturday 24 September 2016
Two young artists, one painting careful landscapes in a way that conveys the spirit of the land; the other doing bold images that match, with a political flavour, the design of the past with the technology of modern electronics.
Artis Gallery features work by two young Maori artists who work in completely contrasting ways. Aroha Gossage, sister of the acclaimed painter Star Gossage, is a recent graduate and her work is entirely landscape.
She paints in muted colours in harmonies that are specially her own. These subtle colour combinations dimly suggest the history and spiritual quality of the land. They are the result of a 10-day stay on Little Barrier Island with which, through her hapu, she has spiritual and historical connections.
She paints accurate land and seascapes of the island in muted colour harmonies of considerable originality. They are a vision of the land rather than a description in a way that follows the thinking in her sister’s work but in a softer and more detailed way. It is a quietly compelling vision.
The gallery is shared with Zena Elliot whose work is far from soft. Her paintings and masks all have sharp-edged forms and are boldly patterned, often in bright stripes. They contain figures stylised in the way of Maori carvings but sometimes with circles that sit oddly in the patterns. The circles denote truncated limbs and appear powerless despite the strength of the rest of the image. The figures wear headphones and carry cell-phones thus connecting the traditional past with the innovative present. The combined message is clear and loud.