Our tours to local galleries offer memorable opportunities to meet artists and hear them discuss their art.  Meeting two very different artists, during our tour of two Cuba Street galleries, was another interesting and memorable morning.

In welcoming the group to the iconic gallery founded by her late father Peter McLeavey, Olivia McLeavey introduced Matt Hunt and his “light, elegant whimsical works on paper.” Matt Hunt’s vivid imagery, depicting spiritual visions coupled with biblical and ancient scriptures, conspiracy theories, political ideologies and Sci-Fi themes have become familiar works on the New Zealand painting scene.

Matt spoke of the influence of the Renaissance masters on his art and how he draws on his interest in cartoons and TV icons, creating a bridge between Christianity and Generation X.  The rich symbolism and imagery are very personal to him but at the same time absolutely universal.

Matt referred to Picasso’s declaration that ‘Art is a lie that makes us realize truth’ noting that for him, painting is an illusion that shows a deeper truth and the struggle between good and evil.

After a coffee break we regrouped at {Suite} and a warm welcome from Director David Alsop.  We explored the ground floor gallery and courtyard and we were delighted to hear sculpture artist Anton Parsons talk about his current exhibition.

Anton leaves the meaning up to the viewer, for without the viewer the art would not exist. Anton often creates large-scale, site-specific work.  The {Suite} exhibition referenced two of his major works.  Following on from his  ‘braille’ sculpture Invisible City (corner of Lambton Quay and Grey Street), a sculpture about how we see and how we acquire information, the smaller sculptures explore the bodily senses of smell and hearing.

Referencing Numbers, his major sculpture in Palmerston North, Anton asks how much information can you consume in one go before the work becomes meaningless, and when considering such work, we will each attach different context based meanings.

Meeting the artists made our tour memorable, exhilarating and thought provoking – lots to think about. Thank you to Matt and Anton.

Feature image: Sue Jamieson and Vivienne Morrell viewing Audition and Olfaction 2016  by Anton Parsons. Photo by Heather Macfarlane