An Atua now high above this land – Onawe Winter is from PICK. Place, an exhibition of new works from Anna Dalzell, Alison Erickson & Gill Hay.
Perhaps this year has given new definition to our sense of place in the world.
These paintings are an exercise into seeing, a practice of observation.
The beauty of Ōnawe, Pigeon Bay and Horomaka / Banks Peninsula.
I look at the landscape over the last few years in various moods and seasons.
Reflecting on the outside world as change rapidly evolves.
The land is seen as a healing place
here a safety net
an immersion in nature.
land to be held by and shelter within.
In the process of this work I try to find ways of avoiding detail and complication. Looking only for main shapes, masses of colour and form. Simplifying all I see and feel down to the bare essentials. The compositions aim to heighten a sense of being immersed in the landscape. This landscape and place in which to heal. To be bathed in green and healed in nature in a troubled world.
Two years ago I started this series of paintings. At that time my plan was to use the land around me to explore painting as a medium. A move away from my familiar process of printmaking.
I wanted to bring more colour into my practice with paint. To honour the history and tradition of painting this landscape in Canterbury. So iconic, familiar and well represented by artists who have come before. Toss Woollaston, Rita Angus, Louise Henderson. I needed to give myself time to immerse in the practice and learn, to experiment.
The stories the land shared as I researched recent passages of time shaped my vision. Ōnawe, a Tapu – sacred land where blood has spilled. An eire presence haunts the minds aware of the lives lost on this soil and surrounds. It’s a place of profound peace and beauty, cradled in the harbour. The dwelling place of an Atua – Te pa Nui O Hau – the goddess of the wind. A place, protected. No longer farmed or dwelt upon, open to walkers, and ponderers. Land for protecting, slowly regenerating to its former pre-human glory.
The land on Banks Peninsula as I see it, beauty as if form and bone. Patterns, blocks of bush, regen, fields and houses. I’ve tried to simplify and only paint main forms, to move away from detail and working tightly, to paint with gesture and energy, to gain a sense of the place, it’s form and mood. Using long panels to constrain my compositions and pull the landscape into a strip. A pattern of land and water, an elevated view – how would the Atua of the wind see the whenua.
A homage to the Japanese tradition of the folding screen. The summer palette, bright and hopeful ochres and light. A Winter palette of Covid, coming back to look at this work with a new perspective. A need to be immersing myself in green, to be in nature and use these colours to shelter in.
Banks Peninsula based artist, Anna Dalzell, captures our connection with the land, and her work is a tribute to what she holds dear in a rapid, ever-changing world. Dalzell’s art practice focuses mainly on intaglio printmaking, drawing and painting.
Image Dimensions: 580mm W x 1505mm H