A review of Irene Richard’s latest exhibition
Left Bank Gallery, Greymouth
11 September - 30 September
On entering the gallery the viewer's eye is drawn directly to three vivid images strongly suggestive of a religious theme that permeates Irene Richard's exhibition. Irene's focus is an exploration of how to express her Christian views, coupled with artistic expressions of her obvious love, the landscape, often marrying the two. Her oil works are colourful and strong and reflect a confidence and comfort with the paint and the subject matter, contrasting with the more subtle use of watercolour in her other landscape works. Many of Irene's paintings are based on an aerial perspective developed from visual memory or quick sketches whilst on flights. These images she has cleverly interpreted into interesting expressions that draw the viewer to have a closer look. Many of Irene's paintings express her relationship with the West Coast where she now resides.
In this exhibition Irene uses her mastery of several media, including oils, pen and ink and watercolour, to tell her stories. Three of her miniatures daintily reflect the nature of the delicate white clematis while a kea lands dramatically amid the snow crested Southern Alps in one of her larger paintings. Irene's pen and ink drawings cleverly tell the stories of journeys she has experienced.
I found myself drawn particularly to Irene's 'Evening Flight to Hokitika 7'. The painting reflects an aerial view of the strong evening light of the West Coast just before sunset where the land meets the sea. Cloud formations hover over the richly coloured Alps while ribbons of rivers meander towards the sea.
Reviewed and written by Rea Eder
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