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Animalia: Elaborate Pen & Ink Drawings by Vivian McKenna


Fri 17 Mar 2017, 10:00am–6:00pm
Sat 18 Mar 2017, 10:00am–3:00pm
Mon 20 Mar 2017, 10:00am–5:00pm
Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:00am–5:00pm
Wed 22 Mar 2017, 10:00am–5:00pm

Where: Taylor-Jensen Fine Arts, 33 George Street, Palmerston North

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Taylor-Jensen Fine Arts takes pleasure in presenting a solo exhibition by Palmerston North artist Vivian McKenna whose unique pen and ink artwork has graced the walls and print bins of the gallery for several years. This will be McKenna’s first solo exhibition at the Taylor-Jensen gallery. The title of the exhibition is reference to the vast array of animal life that she has depicted in her drawings.

At least thirty framed works will be shown in the exhibition which will run from the third through to the twenty-second of March.

A public reception for the artist will be held on Saturday 4th March from 1-3PM.

With the development and continued interest in adult colouring books, McKenna’s fine line drawings will strike a resonant chord with doodlers, graphic artists and animal lovers of all ages! The artist’s striking imagery rooted perhaps in European folk-art painting contains a very strong Pacific flavour. McKenna’s flair for repetitive design is only enhanced by its use to ‘colour in’ well-known bird and animal forms. Her ability may be called ‘doodling’ by some but those in the know will easily recognise a distinctive art form mastered by very few.

Vivian McKenna likes to draw! She was born into a creative family. Both her mother and grandmother belonged to the Wellington Art Club and exhibited in the NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington. She says: “I have early childhood memories of sitting for the art club during school holidays. I took art as a school certificate subject and had my first work exhibited in the Wellington Cultural Centre when I was in my teens.”

After moving to Levin, McKenna attended night classes in perspective and colour. She was invited to join the Alpha Group – working artists who painted or drew together to share the expense of a model hired for portrait practice. Working in mostly pastel at this time, Viv often sold her paintings in local art shows.

In 1994 McKenna moved to Palmerston North. Unable to find a similar art group in the city, she attended an evening life drawing group hosted by Taylor-Jensen Fine Arts. When a day-time life drawing group was established in Palmerston North, Viv joined those artists as well. “My interest though remained primarily in portraiture.” In 2016 Vivian joined the Feilding and Districts Fine Art Society (FADAS) and regularly attends their Tuesday morning sessions drawn as much by fellowship as by what she learns and shares with her fellow members.

“I have always drawn elaborate doodles on any piece of paper that came my way, writes Viv, and in this series of works I have endeavoured to harness that inclination in a more contained form. I hope that these works invite people to think about being part of the land we live on. To not just accept things at face value but to take a closer look! Enjoy.”

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