Michael Haggie's solo exhibition at Space Studio and Gallery is a nod to the transport of yesteryear. Titled Trains, Boats and Planes Michael looks back with an array of works remembering a world that has mostly disappeared.
Michael has a feel for English and New Zealand painting and one of his influences is Post-Impressionist painter Walter Sickert.
"He does lots of very spare paintings, cutting it right back and then greying the colour, dirtying and muddying the colour.
"He would have some pure colours here and there. I use much more of a gestural feeling than Walter, but I really love the grey tones I'm getting next to the planes or ships, or whatever."
The gallery is filled with paintings of trains, boats, aircraft, some from 2010 and some from 2021.
"I used to travel on the train into Dunedin from Mosgiel when I was young, and I've always loved the bigness of trains, the energy of a train. Later on in my teens I would travel to my aunt's in Blenheim and I would take three Fokker Friendships: one to Christchurch, another to Wellington and a third one to Blenheim. I just loved flying in the 1970s."
There are Fokker Friendships in the show.
"I loved leisure boats, the colours of them, the idyllic leisure of them." His boats, his planes, his trains, all evoke a feeling of nostalgia, like pictures from old magazines in their execution and feel.
With the machines of travel come landscapes.
"This is a railcar coming through the Cromwell Gorge — of course it doesn't exist any longer, it's all under water. I love the fact that all of this is gone."
Some of his works are very personal, with one depicting Michael and his three brothers looking at a train in Dunedin in 1963.
"I was painting railways in 2010 ... these are on very thin galvanised steel. I thought, because they're trains, I'd like to put them on a really hard surface."
He found the steel unforgiving.
"The brushes would just go 'splat!' So they're very painterly with lots of marks, and I love scratching them as well." All his modern works are on canvas.
Michael uses oil paint.
"I love oil because it's so thick and juicy, and you can paint into it ... you get a punch of colour, which is wonderful. You can move it about a lot. I like that it doesn't dry for a couple of days, so you can repaint, work into it, scrape it off, all of that. You really have to mean business with oils."
The idea for his images comes from old books, railway magazines, airline magazines and such.
"It is very retro, these are esoteric paintings."
There are cars from decades ago, with every machine identifiable, right down to the make and model, without the detail usually required.
"I just put in little dabs for detail. I love colour — it's kind of loose and wet. It's very much the idea of a sketch, as long as the colour is there."
Sarah Williams, Space curator agrees.
"You don't have to give the viewer all the detail. We always fill in what we need to fill in: the artists doesn't have to give it all away. I think that's what Michael does really well."
Trains, Boats and Planes is open now and is showing until March 28, available for viewing over the two weekends of Artists Open Studios.