A wall of work by Sarah McKenney’s students at the Toi Ora Live Arts Trust.

Our weekly arts diary

Three Waiheke artists, Karl Baxter, Anah Dunsheath and Bronwynne Cornish, are contenders for New Zealand’s only small sculpture prize, sponsored by Bayleys Real Estate Waiheke in conjunction with Te Motu vineyard. On Good Friday, 14 April, the best original freestanding or wall sculpture up to 800mm in any dimension will be awarded $3000 at a gala ceremony at the Waiheke Community Art Gallery commencing at 6 pm.

Dr Zara Stanhope, principal curator at the Auckland Art Gallery, will announce the winner and discuss her selection at the event.

“Selecting the Small Sculpture Award is no doubt always a challenging task, and this year was no different,” says Dr Stanhope. “In engaging with many subjects and [being] created from a range of materials, the works all speak to our contemporary condition.”

Karl Baxter, who was “surprised and delighted to be selected,” says: “My glass sculpture is a response to living in an island landscape. In the process of working with glass, sometimes the chemistry of the materials realises an unpredictable and surprising outcome.”

Anah Dunsheath, a book dealer, comments on the advent of Kindle and onscreen reading devices with her piece KINDLING 2. “Burning books? Fire starters? I am always pleased to invent new ways of expressing my ideas, this time with cardboard, nails, wire, rock and paint.”

An annual event run by the gallery since 2009, this year’s one will feature the sculptural works of 32 finalists chosen from 90 entries from throughout New Zealand. Gala tickets are $45 per person, now available at www.waihekeartgallery.org.nz. Entry post-gala is free.
Also opening at the gallery tomorrow are two new exhibitions. In the small gallery, Russian-born Ilya Volykhine presents The Farce, oil paintings and monoprints from his 2016 residency in Tartu, Estonia, and St Petersburg. “The title of the exhibition speaks to the strange situations and other-worldly juxtapositions that I experience in everyday life and often refer to in my artwork.”

In the Annex, Waiheke artist Stuart Jobling explores colour and texture with Iridescence. “I have always had a passion for working with paper and vintage textiles, which I restored in the past,” he says. His latest collection is influenced by the Far East as well as his grandparents, who had a travelling waxworks they displayed around the world.
All three exhibitions run until 15 May.

Ingrid Berzins will be showing mostly new work in an exhibition over Easter weekend at the Annex on Putiki Road. Continuing the momentum she has been building over the past year, these paintings combine visual storytelling with her love of colour and contrast.

Of her technique, she says, “I spent the first part of my artistic career trying to do everything perfectly as I had been taught and then the latter part of my career undoing my learning to get back to creation. I realised that it’s not about learning how to paint – it’s about getting quiet and listening, allowing and trusting.”

Ingrid pulls out what she sees by relaxing her gaze and making an inward journey to tap into an emotive narrative.

Because she works with the energy of the day when creating, her show will feature “random musings” unrestricted by a theme. Ingrid’s own studio, Little Putiki Gallery, is two doors down from the Annex and will be open on Easter weekend as well. There, you can see more of her new work and see her in action.

Waiheke-based multimedia artist Sarah McKenney, who has taught mosaics for 10 years at the Toi Ora Live Arts Trust in Grey Lynn, will host a two-part mosaic workshop at Onetangi Hall on consecutive Saturdays, 15 April and 22 April.

Toi Ora is an arts centre for people with a history of mental health issues. “There can be a therapeutic aspect to mosaic-making as well as a recycling element, as people can bring their broken pieces of china and make a mosaic with that,” she says. “It’s a very interesting place to work, but I live here so I like to teach here too.”

Suitable for all experience levels, her Waiheke class is $80 and includes all necessary materials. The first class, 10am to 2pm, will focus on fundamentals and design while the second class, 10am to 12pm, will involve grouting and finishing the piece. To enrol, call Sarah at 372 6159 or 027 369 9551.

At the Red Shed in Palm Beach, Poetry and Image continues until 16 April, and Water, photos by Michelle Wolfe, until 21 April. The Red Shed is open Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

Opening at Tivoli in Oneroa on Saturday 22 April is a new exhibition: Bob Brockie, cartoonist and scientist. All welcome. Phone 372 3361. • Anna Ngo

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