Two exhibitions exploring growth and the empowering potential of spiritual renewal are
on show at Percy Thomson Gallery.
Aroaromahana, curated by Patea artist Gabrielle Belz, showcases high-calibre inspirational Māori art, both contemporary and traditional, from members of Toi o Taranaki ki te Tonga.
This is the fourth exhibition in two years by the collective. It features work by Māori artists who reside in, or whakapapa to, Taranaki. Many of the artists have national recognition for their work.
Aroaromahana refers to spiritual potential reinvigorated by the arrival of spring.
'Ka puawai nga kowhai he tohu tena kua aroaromahana: when the kowhai is in flower it's a sign that spring has come.'
As the sun returns to warm the earth, and regrowth begins again, it seems to parallel human activity as social interaction is loosened, and people pick up the strands of their lives again. Spring looks forward to potential, and hope for the future as people re-engage.
Stratford artist Vicky Taylor holds her first major solo exhibition in gallery two.
Vicky spends hours burning wood to create striking artworks filled with depth, detail and emotion.
Pyrography is the art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks resulting from the controlled application of a heated object such as a poker. It is also known as poker work or wood-burning.
Many of Vicky's first works were studies of animals which isn't surprising as Vicky is a veterinarian.
Vicky says 'bucket-loads' of emotion was poured into these detailed works, often with eyes as mirrors of their sentient souls.
"Wood has an energy of its own and every piece is different. Every imperfection makes the piece special. Fire also gives the blackest of blacks and by using a light wood, this allows for high contrasts in my art pieces."
Vicky's favourite wood to burn is basswood as it is very light in colour, a soft wood that has tight fibres and minimal sap.
Other woods of choice are Baltic birch, poplar, and sycamore wood. The title of Vicky's exhibition is Journey of Discovery. Vicky's love of pyrography and the resulting creativity has allowed her to come to terms with crippling bouts of depression.
"I lose myself in my art and the process becomes mindful meditation that brings me into the present moment. It has got me through some pretty rough patches and I am thankful for that," Vicky says.