A review of recent paintings by Amanda Watson
Inspirit Studio and Gallery, Tamahere, Hamilton
7 November – 7 December 2008
Something contained in a work needs to grab the viewer’s attention. On entering the gallery, I was apprehended by the overwhelming presence of blue-ness.
Amanda Watson’s recent body of paintings, 'Kiss of Summer', are not typical summer scenes. No blistering sun-kissed beaches. Instead, there is a preponderance of Ultramarines and Prussian and Royal blues (and every hue in between) which was visually arresting. So much so that I have to say she utilises the colour blue better than any artist that I have seen.
These works employ the colour Ultramarine not just because of the "luminous quality found on the coast" in 'Whaingaroa' (Raglan), but also because of the translation of the words from Latin: Beyond the sea. Watson’s visual referent is to a life beyond this one and to the blue that is also assigned as the colour of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
Watson’s skies are evocative of the skyscapes that Buck Nin so beautifully painted. Though it isn’t possible to tell what the artist’s reference to the skies were, they could be read as Nin’s were – to signify the place of a Deity, perhaps?
Among her atmospheric landscapes are works such as 'Shining in the Dark, 100 km/hour and Ruminate'. Though these were among the smaller works and easy to overlook, their Fomisonesque style were able to transcend size and speak to me because they allowed the colour and subject to narrate.
The works that have native flora and fauna as foreground to moody skies and seas, whilst they are successful works, the presence of subject was almost a distraction from the sublime of the blue.
There is vibrancy visible in her works that originates from a passionate and long time love of nature. Watson paints with great technical skill and a deep sincerity. Ultimately, the triumph of this series is Watson’s ability to evoke that sense of awe felt whilst looking upon magnificence.
Reviewed and written by Leafa Wilson
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