There are three new exhibitions at Space Studio and Gallery in St Hill St.
"Three out-of-town artists, which is quite rare for us," says Sarah Williams, Space owner and curator.
Tim Laffey, Sean McDonnell and Mark Antony Smith are displaying their work from now until October 10. To make it more difficult, Tim is from Whanganui but based in Australia so his work had to be freighted to Auckland, framed, then transported to Whanganui.
"It's been a big effort on his part and it's nice to see Tim's commitment to the show in Whanganui."
This is his first solo show in New Zealand.
"We've got two landscape artists, in a sense," says Sarah. "Sean is a more traditional landscape painter — the physicality of paint on a canvas; then Tim's work is photography of the landscape but it's very ethereal, using a lot of in-camera technique to play with the light on the landscape. It's interesting we've got two different interpretations of landscape."
Sean was born in Wellington in 1977 and moved to Auckland's North Shore when he was 8.
"Bold, expressive landscape paintings, that's what I'm mostly focused on. It makes me happy when I'm painting. I'm also a surfer, which is where I got my love of the ocean and being at the beach. I would like to share the joy I have of painting and also of nature.
"I live at Baylys Beach: it's in the Kaipara, north of Auckland. So I'm at the beach every day … It's meditative, keeps me calm, and I'd like to share that with others."
He often works plein air. "I've got a little easel I set up at the beach and paint, I think that's the way to really capture the feeling. I also work from photos and take them back to my studio. I use the photos as a starting point then use my imagination to finish them off."
Tim Laffey says that as a Whanganui boy he discovered books about the art of JMW Turner and the enigmatic glow that seems to shine from within his canvas.
"That is key to the work I do. That inner glow," he says. Tim's mother was a Plunket nurse and he would often travel with her to visit families up the Whanganui River, as well as to the Jerusalem commune of James K Baxter.
"Then we've Mark Antony Smith, who has regularly exhibited with Space over the years as a Quay School of the Arts graduate now based in Wellington; painter and mixed media artist, working at Massey in their multi-media department.
"He's done exhibitions largely inspired by the lockdown and the way we use windows to communicate with each other," says Sarah. "They're little video works and he's got some paintings as well."
"I have long been fascinated by the window," says Mark. "I was once told it was the first media, after people had put windows in their houses they had a frame on the world and were able to select their viewpoint. Their framing."
Space is a building a brand, reinforced by the new building and business model, with greater flexibility to exhibit a wider range of works. Sarah looks to show more contemporary, emerging art, aligning the programme accordingly.
"It's a little more edgy, trying to push the boundaries and generally quite conceptual. It's about creating an interesting and engaging conversation between the three exhibitions, and an awareness that art is super subjective, so people have that opportunity to choose what they like: that's the joy of art, really."