Vivid artefacts and stunning geometry open Sarjeant Gallery winter season
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Vivid artefacts and stunning geometry open Sarjeant Gallery winter season

Vivid artefacts and stunning geometry open Sarjeant Gallery winter season

Denys Watkins Dynamo Hum exhibition is showing at Sarjeant on the Quay until late August. Photo Bevan Conley

By Liz Wylie, a reporter for the Whanganui Chronicle


The paintings in Denys Watkins’ Dynamo Hum exhibition at the Sarjeant Gallery look almost lickable.

The gelato shades of his acrylic on canvas and linen paintings attracted visitors into the gallery for the opening of the winter season of exhibitions at Sarjeant on the Quay last week.

Watkins, who is also a musician, said the title of his exhibition has nothing to do with the Frank Zappa song Dinah-Moe Humm but relates to the “old school” mechanisms that convert mechanical rotation into electric power.

“I was thinking of mid-century modern designs and colours – kitchens, linoleum patterns of the era.

“Some are based around everyday artefacts like redundant household items or something like a moa bone.”

His work How it should be spoken features a moa thigh bone with the label “alive” attached to it and a complex pattern of blue coils against a salmon pink background.

Now based in Auckland where he taught at Elam School of Fine Arts for more than 30 years, Watkins is a former Whanganui resident.

“I exhibited in a group show at the Sarjeant when Bill Milbank was the director but I haven’t held a solo exhibition before.”

While visiting Whanganui, Watkins has taken a tour of the redevelopments at the Sarjeant building in Queens Park and joined assistant curator Jessica Kidd for a public discussion on his exhibition.

Peter Trevelyan’s Delineate exhibition at Sarjeant on the Quay provides an interesting juxtaposition to Watkins’ work.

As visitors stood back to admire the big, bright paintings on one side of the gallery, they were drawn in to scrutinise Trevelyan’s geometric structures at close quarters on the other.

Trevelyan, who was a Tylee Cottage resident in 2017, is known for his unique practice of using mechanical pencil lead to build elegant, refined works that range from minuscule to person height.

He also uses plastics, paper, card and wooden framing to construct works that appear both fragile and industrial.

Artist Peter Trevelyan at Sarjeant on the Quay during install of Delineate show May 2019 landscape. Photo Credit Michael Mckeagg.

Also on show at Sarjeant on the Quay is the inaugural My Choice exhibition – a selection of works from the Sarjeant collection chosen by mayor Hamish McDouall.

McDouall is the first person to be invited to select his favourite works from the Sarjeant’s permanent collection for a new exhibition series called My Choice.

Sarjeant Gallery curator Jennifer Taylor Moore said the intention with My Choice was to demystify the world of art and new selections will be made each month for viewing on the Sarjeant Gallery website.

The exhibition will be on show until August 25, Dynamo Hum until August 25 and Delineate until September 1 at 38 Taupo Quay.


Click here to see the originial article which appeared in the on June 13 2019.