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1 Apr 2021

1 May 2021

John Barry and Ruth Willis

Almost a century of creative experience converges on canvas and in clay in this joint exhibition by mature Diamond Harbour artists, Ruth Willis and John Barry. Ruth is a well-known potter in the community with a four-decade practice, while John has half a century behind him as a respected painter. The exhibition also incorporates a number of events at the Stoddart Cottage Gallery over the month. Ruth will be leading hands-on pottery demonstrations. John will be presenting a special Anzac Day talk around four of his paintings depicting heroic Kiwi airmen, before these move to permanent display at the Air Force Museum of NZ.


Ruth Willis found her passion for pottery in the 1980s, as a foundation member of a Methven pottery club. Describing herself has a “rustic” potter, she initially made domestic ware on the wheel, shared with family and friends. By 1988 Ruth had bought her own kiln, and through attending many workshops over the years, now produces a variety of shapes and forms. “The pleasure I have of working with the clay is the satisfaction of creating a unique piece of work in an age of mass production,” says Ruth. In this exhibition she will be showing both favourite pieces from her personal collection, as well as recent works for sale.


John Barry is a largely self-taught painter working across multiple media: watercolours, oils, acrylics, pastels, and charcoal. His preference is for pastel painting, which has seen him become an award-winning member of Pastel Artists of NZ. John engages with a variety of subjects; from figure studies and portraits, local and NZ landscapes, to aviation themes, the latter resulting from spending over 30 years in the RNZAF. His paintings have been used to illustrate books and magazine articles, and some donated to the Air Force Museum.

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