On Wednesday the 15th people flocked to the Dunedin School of Art gallery to see the collective exhibition, Smoke and Mirrors, showcasing three prominent Dunedin artists. Anja Sinclair, Michael Greaves and Peter Cleverly are all well established within the Dunedin art scene and their collaborative showing made for an interesting combination of works, highlighting each of their very different and individual styles.
Anja Sinclair’s work is mystical and enchanting. Aspects of her earlier style were evident in this exhibition with the adoption of soft and dreamy textures, however a new use of stronger tones in burgundy and emerald jade, dominated the canvas. This new use of colour gave the works quite an unnerving yet beautiful quality. One tends to get lost in these powerful depictions of nature.
A skilful quality seen in this collection is her ability to portray landscapes in an abstract and expressive manner whilst maintaining a vivid image of the scene. This looser style is a development from her previous works and can be seen in the dripping effect of the burgundy paint. Anja is a very talented painter and it will be interesting to see her future progression. This set of works highlights, again, what a talented painter this young women is; a true darling of Dunedin.
Michael Greaves’ collection takes us on a journey from one side of the globe to the other, literally. The works encompass various scenes and landmarks from Berlin, Prague, Paris and Dunedin and appear to be hung in an unconventional manner, with no distinct flow of places visited.
This seemingly unconventional style is further expressed through the use of various mediums from one work to the next, at times encompassing more than one within a single work. Mediums used included, graphite, watercolour, gauache, glitter, oil, ink jet photo and kohl. This mixed media approach highlights the journey through the different cultures and settings in which Greaves based his collection. The works have a frantic feel to them and one might question whether this reflects Greaves’ own journey through Europe.
Finally, Peter Cleverley’s collection made for a whole different concept all together. His use of large dog imagery, religious symbolism, pictures of ethnic-tribal figures and skull and cross bone were portrayed in a very jarring nature.
These images were put against stark yet bold colours on large canvases, bar one work, which was a coffin shaped box. ‘Sea Dog’ was an interesting work with an image of a dog’s head appearing as an island surrounded by water. This dog image and the other well known and familiar symbols juxtaposed against the natural environment possibly reflected a relationship between, and an influence of the land and its people. The jarring and sharpness of some imagery, including the coffin, the cross bone, etc triggered the idea that Cleverley is making broader political statements about the human condition.
Reviewed by Em & Co.