|Toward Terawhiti. oil on board, 132 x 30 cm, 2004|
|Bob Kerr South Coast (and other places) new paintings : 6 27 November, 2004
The hazy, elusive landscape on the cover of Michael Kings mega-selling History of New Zealand has become one of the most widely seen images in New Zealand art. It shows a stretch of open country and hills seen from the shoreline, a scene which appears untouched by human presence until we notice a faint path leading inland towards the plume of smoke rising in the middle distance.
The creative tension between the natural world and its inhabitants is a distinguishing feature of the work of Bob Kerr, the Wellington artist who produced the cover painting. His latest exhibition, on show at Idiom Studio in Mt Victoria, results from explorations, on foot and by bike, around some under-appreciated areas of the southern coastline.
"These are parts of the country which dont feature on calendars," says Bob. His paintings, in dramatically extended narrow landscape format, show stretches of Wellingtons south coast, the southern Wairarapa around Turakirae Head, and parts of the Manawatu coast. Technically impressive, they are also intriguing for the unsentimental way they include human modifications to the landscape.
"These are walk-in paintings," says Bob. "I can head out to these places on any Sunday in the year and theres a small army of people out there battling a stiff southerly. Theyre dedicated to preserving the natural environment, but also to recording the human history of the area, whether it was misguided or heroic. I hope my paintings invite the same kinds of participation in the landscape."
Bob Kerr's work has appeared in galleries throughout New Zealand. His exhibition runs until 27th November.
Click here to go to Bob's last exhibition at Idiom - the Rua Expedition, which subsequently toured a number of public art galleries.