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Wharariki Exhibition by Garth Steeper

Ticket Information

  • Free Admission


  • Sun 23 Jun 2024, 10:00am–4:00pm
  • Mon 24 Jun 2024, 10:00am–4:00pm
  • Tue 25 Jun 2024, 10:00am–4:00pm
  • Wed 26 Jun 2024, 10:00am–4:00pm
  • Thu 27 Jun 2024, 10:00am–4:00pm

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All Ages

Wharariki by Garth Steeper
7 - 27 June, 2024
New paintings at Boyd-Dunlop Gallery

Garth Steeper is one of the quiet, consistent achievers in Aotearoa New Zealand painting. With diligence, an unwavering conviction and indefatigable stores of energy, he has worked tirelessly over the last two decades to create a uniquely textured visual language – unequivocally his own, while at the same time holding space for dialogues with his teachers and sponsors: Delacroix, Rembrandt, Courbet, Bacon and Fomison – the undisputed masters of national and continental figurative oil painting.

Using the coastal region of the South Island’s Tasman District, beaches such as Golden Bay, Farewell Spit, Wharariki Beach, become points of origin for what are primarily mythical works of the subconscious. Of course, the paintings abound with potential for narrative interpretation. They offer any attentive viewer multiple points of engagement to springboard into historical and psychoanalytic readings, but the closer we observe these seabirds, caves, beach fires sealions, horizons and ghost schooners who inhabit these tableaux, the closer we are to their otherness.

The place Steeper operates from is at the edge of a world where retread notions of intellectual difficulty and willful, often pointless, theoretical obfuscations are vaunted over authentic feeling, genuine technique, and a sense of placement within the continuum of a tradition. To this end, his practice is guided by a certain truth (one at times unpalatable to lesser artists), that a serious painter’s only enduring subject is paint itself and its relationship to light, to surface. This type of relationship is ultimately reducible to a single word: materiality.

Just as the light hitting Achilles’ shield in Homer’s The Iliad, or the displaced dead souls of the Styx thrashing and writhing as they tug at Dante’s robe in Delacroix’s The Barque of Dante, we see that the best examples of figuration are indeed matrixes comprised of multiple luminous abstract marks. The detailed figures and landscapes of these paintings are themselves built from an economy of cuts, rills, pools and thick, sedimentary impastos that contort our spatial relationship to form. To look into a Steeper frame is to look into the realm of tricksters, dreams, incommensurables.

Boyd-Dunlop Gallery
4 Hastings Street, Napier South, Napier
Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm
Sunday 10 am- 3pm
Call: 06-8359681 | 021 201 0079

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