A new visual experience has been brought to the WHMilbank Gallery through the optical effect of white paint cutting through black velvet.

Artist Kendal Heyes has 10 pieces of artwork on show at his latest exhibition, which show different variations of white grids and voids.

Hayes said the pieces represented Polynesia in a general sense and gave a partial New Zealand and Polynesian aesthetic as he used black and white throughout his work.

"Black and white are very much colours that represent New Zealand, they're just about in everything, such as sports teams," Heyes said.


He begins creating his pieces by stretching black velvet over a stretcher, stapling it and then applies masking tape to help him evenly paint a grid with seven coats of white paint.

"I like to take something that's a folk art medium and do something new with it, it's partially why I used the black velvet but also Polynesian work," Heyes said.

He played with a lot of different paints and pigments but chose to paint on velvet as it gave him the deepest black effect.

In the beginning, he would play with grids and then began playing with different variations of voids, making some of his pieces look like nets standing up against a void.

When observing his work and you see the white lines running through a black background your eyes see little black dots popping through.

"I like the idea of artwork that's optical because it is visual art so I think it should do something visual," Heyes said.

Heyes also has two prints included in the exhibition which show some of his up and coming work.

The prints are created through thin pieces of plywood laid out in different variations which represent an infinite series of different variations which are also in black and white.


Gallery owner Bill Millbank said the exhibition was striking.

It is Heyes' second exhibition with the gallery in two years. It runs until July 28.

The born-and-bred Aucklander is also a photographer. He has lived near Sydney since 1979 and his work has featured in the National Gallery of Australia, New South Wales and South Australia.

In 2017, Heyes won a 25,000 Adelaide Perry drawing prize for a piece he had on show at his last exhibition in Whanganui.