The opening at Matariki weekend of Donna Dinsdale’s solo exhibition at Ōpunake’s from out of the blue studio gallery marked the halfway point of the gallery’s winter season of textile exhibitions. Viv Davy’s gallery has become a regular part of the Taranaki arts scene for much of the last decade; her workshops and exhibitions focus on fibre, as befits a weaver of over 40 years.
Viv Davy moved to Ōpunake about 10 years ago, finding in the remote community a dream location, close to the beach, which supports a low impact life. Her own work is strongly organic and sustainable, and she encourages other artists in this direction. It’s certainly demonstrated in the current run of exhibitions, among them recycled household textiles and natural themes.
On show 13 July – 14 August, He Korowai Mahana. To Be Cloaked In The Comfort Of Whakapapa ‘highlights narratives’ from personal moments in time. Donna Dinsdale’s work is both retrospective, including some produced for WOW, and new pieces honouring the artist’s great-uncle Dudley, a casualty of the second world war, and his relationship with his mother. The foundation for this body of work is the traditional New Zealand woollen blanket in various incarnations: military drab or household cheerfulness, reconstructed with a range of needlework techniques into storied sculptures. Check out the photographs and more information and links on the gallery site.
The current exhibition follows two others since April. In May was Marilyn Rea-Menzies’s Extinction is Forever, glorious tapestries invoking endangered and extinct birdlife. June featured Anne Garvey’s With a Flour-ish, which uses a range of stitching techniques to highlight the original designs of old NZ Flour Bags. In August, Cathy Brickhill’s Mountain Whispers uses textiles and mixed media to reflect the artist’s relationship with her home region. An exhibition of Viv’s own work will follow the winter schedule.
You can visit the gallery by appointment if you’re exploring Taranaki, or explore more about its workshops and exhibitions on the gallery’s website.
There’s also this stuff article which places the gallery in the local gallery ecosystem.