Hawke’s Bay Today: Glittery Paint Works Sparkle with Delight

Parlour Projects’ curator and director, Sophie Wallace, is delighted to be showing Reuben Paterson’s paintings in a first exhibition of his work Take Down The CloudsPaterson is an artist with an extensive history of exhibitions in New Zealand and Australian galleries since his first exhibition in 2003. Take Down the Clouds consists of eight paintings; the Reuben Paterson style instantly recognisable from their subject matter and distinctive sparkly surface.

For this exhibition Paterson pairs new botanical works alongside new cloud works, turning the viewer’s mind to the earth and sky. The rain in a cloud is the life force to a flower, connecting Rangi, the sky father and Papatuanuku, the earth mother. These symbiotic relationships between up and down, heaven and earth, dawn and dusk, dark and light and night and day come to the force through the coupling of these works. We think of Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud.

Since his Elam days in the 1990’s when students were encouraged to experiment with materials, he has been integrating glitter into his paint medium and this was the material that really stuck with him. “It has so much unexplored potential and, actually, we experience natural glitter everywhere in our environment,” he says. “I have special memories of the black sand at Piha as a young boy, of dancing across that hot, hot sand, the translucence of the purple streaks, the great blackness and how incredibly sparkly it was, and then you raise your eyes and you can also see how the sun strikes the sea. I think of the importance of light for the natural world and the story of Rangi and Papatuanuku and the coming of light in Māori mythology as the couple were separated.”

The subjects of his paintings are all connected to his family memories. His dad was a landscape gardener and so the botanicals are reflective of his father’s life too, with the kōwhaiwahi patterns of his Māori ancestors. He now lives in New Plymouth and his garden is a big part of his life there.  

Hawke’s Bay Today: Glittery Paint Works Sparkle with Delight