Lauriel Masson-Oakden's August exhibition at Red Door gallery is a mix of colour, texture, light, imagination and surprises.

Art in its many forms has played a big part in Lauriel's life, since her childhood in France. In 2016 she did a Certificate of Art and Design at UCOL: hers was the last full year course.

"We did so many different things and it was so much fun."

She followed it with a bachelor's degree.


La Vie en Couleur displays her creative expertise in a number of ways, through paint, fabric, charms, earrings and a surprising element she calls "magic green".

In one room of the gallery are Lauriel's paintings and a stand of earrings, wine glass charms and knitting stitch markers. Her abstract paintings are from her second year in the degree course.

"I like mixing colour, that's my thing. I just mix a colour and see where it takes me.

"Then, the magic green happened. I mixed a blue and a red to get the colour ... the next day it was like that."

"That" is an iridescent, metallic green that seems to absorb light then reflect it with an intensity beyond what a simple paint mix should do. To prove it was not a fluke, Lauriel has mixed it and used it again since.

In the other room are paintings on fabric, the fabric being flannel sheets sourced from charity shops.

"I mixed water, acrylic paint and binding medium and played with it."

The walls are draped with "flags", heavy with colour and stiff with the mixture. Lauriel's work is definitely tactile and she says doesn't mind if people have to touch the work to get the full effect.


Another wall comprises "sticks", made a similar way but with the fabric wrapped around thin lengths of wood.

"I got kids from Amdram starlets, all dressed in black, to carry the sticks from UCOL up to Queens Park to the Handspan sculpture."

A friend took photos of the mobile installation event.

"It was a protest about protesting."

Lauriel's daughter, Éloise Masson-McKenzie, with one of her mother's 'sticks' in Queens Park. Photo / Aidan McGrath
Lauriel's daughter, Éloise Masson-McKenzie, with one of her mother's 'sticks' in Queens Park. Photo / Aidan McGrath

Originally from Montpellier, in the south of France, Lauriel has been in New Zealand for 19 years and in Whanganui since 2004.

La Vie en Couleur is on display at Red Door Gallery in Putiki until the end of August.