The finger and nose prints on the windows give it away - Zimmerman Art Gallery's latest exhibition is an eyeball drawer.
A Palmerston North businessman, who only wants to be known as Sas, has agreed to allow gallery owner Bronwyn Zimmerman to display a selection of his paintings, sculptures, photographs and ceramics from his private art collection.
Nothing is for sale and there's no charge to view Collecting Contemporary.
The first piece you're likely to notice is Rusty the dog eyeing up his red ball. He's made by Max Patte from cast iron and resin. Patte also created Solace in the Wind - the statue of a naked man overlooking the Wellington Harbour.
Sas says what is on display is a "chunk" of his collection. He started collecting more than 15 years ago.
The first piece he bought was a Karl Maughan painting of rhododendrons. He bought it to sell but he's still got it and it's part of the Zimmerman exhibition. Also in the Maughan corner are six bottles of Merlot - a 2008 Maughan oil painting was cut into 1000 pieces and affixed to 1000 bottles of wine and Sas has a half dozen of them.
A recent acquisition is a painting by 7-year-old Charlie from Auckland. Sas bought it for $48 at an online auction raising money for Youthline. However, for many of his pieces he's had to pay them off in installments.
Feilding artist Colin Hoare's painting of two boys playing cricket is striking as the arm of boy catching the red cherry extends beyond the frame. Some of the impressionist artist's works can be seen at Moxies Cafe. Hoare was a finalist in the Adam Portraiture Award 2020.
Sas doesn't have a favourite work but he will admit to a favourite artist - Whanganui's Rachael Garland. She has a Master of Māori Visual Arts and says her work is often an amalgamation of the real and the imagined.
Sas likes the shades, layers and earthy looks of her pieces that seem to fit everywhere. Garland's body of work keeps changing and people wouldn't realise the same artist had done the sculptures and paintings.
He says Whanganui is New Zealand's top spot for artists. The exhibition also has work by Whanganui brothers Mark and Paul Rayner. Mark's Andy Warhol lamp includes the pop artist's quote "Art is what you can get away with".
There's a signed Toss Woollaston water colour palette and McCahon expert Gordon H Brown's painting he started in 1966 and finished 47 years later. And yes, Sas has a Colin McCahon original - a charcoal rubbing, which is on display.
While many of the pieces are whimsical, activist and artist Tama Iti's 1997 painting is sobering. It's of a blackboard on which he's written over and over again the lines "I will not speak Māori".
More than 65 artists are represented and Zimmerman says the exhibition is supported by Sas's good recordkeeping, recording artists' names, titles, year made and what each work is made from. The artists range from well known to emerging and mid career. Some he knows well, some he's never met.
Zimmerman describes Sas as "utterly fearless" in his collecting - he's guided by whatever takes his eye and it doesn't matter what other people think.
Sas says it's like his pieces have found their way home again. "It's nice to see the pieces back in a gallery with the right walls and lights so it comes to life again so I can relive it."
He says people can be scared they'll make a mistake collecting art but art is an opinion.
Since the exhibition was hang, Sas has been smuggling more pieces in. He understands how artists feel when they sell a piece. "The house feels like it's got no soul at the moment."
Zimmerman says the public would generally never have the opportunity to see these art works, and the collection Sas has amassed really is something to be seen.
Sas is still actively collecting through galleries, catalogues and artists' studios. He encourages people to walk among their art at home - they don't need to put one piece in a hallway. His toilet is adorned with a range of Mona Lisa images.
What: Collecting Contemporary
When: Thursdays to Sundays 11am to 3pm until April 30
Where: Zimmerman Art Gallery, 329 Main St
Tickets: Free entry