Patron impressed by 'superior' show

By Helen Frances

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"Every year I have been supporting the Arts Review I look around and think, 'wow - this is really impressive, that a smallish community can produce such a varied range of work and of such good quality'."

So says Bryce Smith, major sponsor of the annual Belton, Smith & Associates Whanganui Arts Review, adding: "This really is a superior regional show - good art is a good thing to support."

The Whanganui chartered accountant encourages art lovers to buy the locally produced works selected for the 2016 Arts Review, which are on show at the Sarjeant on the Quay gallery until June 5.

"Normally the gallery doesn't sell artworks, and even in this case we don't sell them in an overt sense," says Greg Donson, curator and public programmes manager at the Sarjeant Gallery.

"This show makes it easy for people to see a diverse range of works and how they sit in relation to one another; the prices are affordable and there is a benchmark of quality.

"A lot of people may not realise they could potentially have one of these works at home after the show."

The works and prices are listed in the Arts Review catalogue, which is available at the gallery reception on Taupo Quay.

Both Mr Donson and Mr Smith advise people to buy artworks they like - or perhaps a work that challenges and jolts viewers with a fresh perspective that stimulates discussion.

"It's an endless trip ... you never get to the end of being interested in art," Mr Smith said.

"You can get shocked, surprised, but you never say, 'that's it - I've got to the end of what I need to know, I can tick art, I've finished'."

Mr Smith, whose wife is well-known artist Sue Cooke, has sponsored the Arts Review for the past 15 years. The couple are passionate supporters of the local arts community and "walk the talk", often buying works at the review.

"Artists are a very low/average income group," Mr Smith said. "The way they make money is by selling their work, so supporting artists by buying their work allows them to eat and continue working.

"If we want to live in a community that is enriched by artists, the way to ensure that is by buying their work."

The 11 works that have sold to date include Katie Brown's blown glass Embrace; Carmen Simmonds' cast glass and mixed media A Girl's Tall Tale; Matt Dutton's painting Liverpool #2; and Diane Fazzini's Pinch My Pots.

Other works by nationally recognised artists await buyers, including Mark Rayner's Self Portrait, the Belton, Smith & Associates open award winner; Rick Rudd's Does My Bum Look Big In This?; Wendy Caldwell's Clockwise; and Catherine Macdonald's Still Life: What Could Go Wrong? There is an artwork for every taste.

Mr Smith is looking forward to the redevelopment of the Sarjeant Gallery and the new space which will make it possible to exhibit a larger selection of Arts Review works.

"The gallery on Taupo Quay is a great temporary home, but it certainly doesn't match the beauty of the Sarjeant."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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