Bruce Hunt’s depictions of the New Zealand landscape have the immediate hallmarks of topographical accuracy while also evoking the unmistakable essential moods, atmospheres and interlocking structures which make it so extraordinary and distinctive.
Hunt has been a fulltime artist since 1983 and has been exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand. As a studio painter he travels widely in pursuit of visual information but is drawn back again and again to those few special locations that are the vital inspiration to his work. He presently resides back in Dunedin within reach of the hinterland that has been the focus of his work for nearly 3 decades.
Hunt’s epic depictions of the Otago and South Canterbury landscapes are powerful works, which sweep the eye over what appear to be seemingly endless sinewy vistas. These panoramic vistas are more than mere documentation – Hunt’s works evoke an emotional and spiritual response to the land. He explores the history, geology and myth that envelops the vast empty tussock-clad hills and arid plains of the Lindis, Danseys Pass and Dunstan Trail regions.
The landscape, often depicted in the glow of dawn or dusk, achieves remarkable depth, luminosity and atmosphere. Masterfully, Hunt captures the subtle play of light and consequent shadow. The muscular geology of the land seems clothed in folds of soft velvet as he layers translucent paint in warm shades over cool to produce an inner radiance.
Hunt spends much of his time traversing sheep trails or old gold mining paths. As an artist my fuel is the anticipation of discovering new territories but also the seasoned familiarity of places returned to again and again. There is a sense that these paintings are inhabited both by the artist and the viewer. We are invited into the works, asked to stand atop a lonely ridgeline or evening valley, and consider the tension between the fleeting nature of humanity and the timeless land we occupy.