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.
The Smell of Rain is a title that, for the artist, suggests not only at the elemental things; weather and storms, the feeling of sun and wind, but of nostalgia, the inevitability of change and memories of youth.
This theme is the basis of an ongoing suite of images, both photographic and in paint, created under the same title. It will form the foundation of a second photo book, that explores moments and memories, landscape and culture.
The first book TUSSOCK, published by Bateman Books is due to be released in October.
Hunt’s work explores the form and pattern of the land through elevated viewpoints. He is fascinated by the history and myth that envelops certain places as well as the geomorphic processes that create the vast tussock-clad hills of the Lindis and Danseys Pass regions and the wide arid stretches of the Hakataramea and Mackenzie Basin.
The landscape, often depicted in the glow of dawn or dusk, achieves remarkable depth, luminosity and atmosphere. 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.
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 land we occupy.