Shared Plots

Until 27 May, SPA_CE, Napier

This is a group show of paintings by four artists with connections to Hawke’s Bay. Works by Brad Donovan, Hayley Hewer, John Eaden and John Lancashire can be viewed until the 27th of May.

You are greeted with Brad Donovan’s Suburban Night Scene. It’s dusk and Douglas fir tree silhouettes poke out from behind a house roof, a sliver of light above a fence breaks up the blocks of grey, blue, and richer, darker blue. Donovan’s works in the show explore domestic scenes, more specifically views from inside of the outside, a bit mysterious, a bit playful. Just a peek sometimes, through a door left ajar in Evening Visitors. A child’s point of view? Painted in a very hard-edged style using acrylics, think #superflat #popart #GaryHume.

So, here at the top of the staircase leading to the intimacy of SPA_CE, light is let in by two slim leadlight panels behind you. And, like the paintings in this group show, the light is muted, coming through from the working garage below. The panels’ geometric lines and circles echo (as the gallerist Megan Poppelwell points out) the shapes on the building’s exterior.

Turn right into the gallery and John Lancashire’s heavy lidded roses emerge off-centre from a brooding grey/blue background. With titles such as Night Garden 2 and Before Dawn, these works explore light and darkness beautifully within the specificity of one location, subject and time.

Sharing this space is a series of small acrylic paintings on board by John Eden: The Hawke’s Bay View and Hawke’s Bay Scene. Small but robust renderings of Te Karamu stream, Pakowhai road, Awatoto. Familiar local landscapes in shadowy greens and greys with glimpses through to our distinctive silvery Hawke’s Bay hills.

Our journey through these ‘shared plots’ ends with abstract works, the emotional landscapes of Hayley Hewer.  Chunky paint is applied in layers, Where the Moon looks down evokes a hazy night sky in lush greys and blues. The sweetly poetic We begin to bloom introduces a lighter palette of whites, yellow and pink. A shared thread in this show is the notion of a garden at night. The theme evokes the lushness of dusk, the deep colours and long shadows common to many of the works.

The next show coming up at SPA_CE gallery is sure to be a humdinger too: paintings by regional treasure Martin Poppelwell.

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