Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lifesong - Review

York Street Art Gallery, 21 York Street, Timaru: 20 Nov 2010 – 20 Jan 2011

This exhibition of abstract paintings by artist Elizabeth Love (nee Acheson) of Timaru, reveal a deep vein of Christian faith that inspires and translates the artist’s poet soul.

There is a sense of atmosphere about these works; of mood, of storm and brooding, of depth to fathom, of deeply rich colour and textured surfaces that might be read lightly like Braille, with the fingers.

The exhibition ‘presents the gleanings of memory past and present’. Key elements show up again and again; text in the form of scripture, prayer, song and lyric, and ideas of a new land, landscape and a sense of place within it.

The Nunc Dimittis series stands out. They refer to the song of Simeon, used as a canticle (a Christian hymn or chant) in various liturgies.

Luke 2:29 – 32 elaborates and refers to the sighting of the Christ child by the old prophet Simeon, and his readiness at that point to depart, to leave, to be dismissed from this life because he had seen and held the promised Christ. His wait was over. Scripture also conveys an unwritten sense of settling and settlement.

The Common Prayer series carry ideas further. ‘In the Bonds of Love we Meet’, and ‘Let it Rain’ are Influenced by the Common Prayer Book of Anglican up-bringing. Works are linked to this land, Aotearoa, to its vision and its unifying national anthem.

The Common Prayer Book was a vital link between the Northern Ireland homeland of her parents and the new home they would eventually make in Aotearoa NZ. ‘The prayer book gave them a sense of cover and commonality amongst other Anglicans; they could go anywhere in the world and be at home’, she says.

The Kakanui series is a place where ocean meets sky and red ladders appear in the landscape. The work ‘When Jesus called to Peter at Kakanui’ suggests new insight occurred there.

Design is a key element in Elizabeth Love’s work. It brings a sense of measure and placement of the artist’s language of marks. These show up as deft sweeps of colour; of semi circles, banners, crosses and other motifs.

Ideas for new works seem to be constantly arriving. These are thought about, developed and presented though they may take a number of years to resolve.

Elizabeth has dedicated Lifesong to the memory of her father.

Moana Tipa
Community Arts Writer
November 2010


Nearly a year on & I am understanding more about these works with the help of my Learning Connexion mentor Anne-Marie Jean. Invaluable.

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