Jo Ewing, Jane McCulla,
Jan Valentine Priestley, Paul Arnold
CLOSE TO THE WIND
3 March - 2 April 2023
Opening Event - 3 March 5-7pm
In Close to the Wind, artists Jo Ewing, Jane McCulla and Jan Valentine Priestley and antique map expert, Paul Arnold navigate marine themes through paintings, ceramics and maps. As a nautical expression, sailing close to the wind is when a boat is steered as near as possible to the direction of the airstream. Executed correctly, the vessel will speed along at full sail. Make a minor error, and the boat will lose wind and slow. The risks and exhilaration of this approach are akin to the leap of faith required to make art.
For thirty years, Jo Ewing has been portraying “things of the land” as a respected botanical watercolourist. However, in this exhibition she explores her long-held passion for the sea, which includes meticulous paintings of classic sailing boats asea in the historic maps of the regions from which they hail. “I am definitely a sea person,” says Jo. “I lived my first five years at Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast and my earliest memories are of the edge of the land; in the warm sea shallows, intertidal spaces and sand. From the age of six I lived beside Lake Taupo where I learnt all about boats and fishing, but my heart remained with the sea.”
Award winning ceramicist, Jane McCulla presents a series of pieces that suggest elements of ship design with their blue print cyanotype imagery, a sense of the vast sea and a ship’s enduring priority to remain seaworthy. These ceramic vessels also reference two of Jane’s family members whose lives whose lives revolved around ships. “My paternal grandfather worked on the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic and tragically lost his life at Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland,” she explains. “And my Great Uncle William sailed on HMS Garthpool, a fully rigged four masted sailing ship, as a cabin boy aged fourteen.”
Jan Valentine Priestley has a long history creating works with a maritime theme, which have been exhibited from Idyllwild, California to Diamond Harbour here in New Zealand. “My work is photo imaging on paper clay,” Jan outlines. “This involves a collage of historical maps, old drawings of sea creatures and calligraphy. These sepia images are screened onto sculptured boats, life-buoys, floats and plaques and bowls.”
Paul Arnold owns the Antique Print Gallery. In this show, he is presenting historic maps that include a hand-coloured reproduction of Cook's original chart of New Zealand, complete with original errors, such as depicting Banks Peninsula as an island.