New works by Sofia Minson at "A bird on the wall" in Christchurch

"A bird on the wall.... is as good as two in the bush!" is a really fun invitational group show that I've created two new paintings for, here's a close-up of one of them, "The Kaka is Calling"...

Head over to Bryce Gallery in Christchurch from 7-18 August to view the bird themed paintings and sculptures by myself and 12 other talented artists.

Or if you can't make it but like what you see online, get in touch with Denise Bryce at art2die4@brycegallery.co.nz or phone +64 3 348 0064.

My new works:

The Kaka is Calling
Mixed media on loose canvas, 1530 x 970mm, 2014
Contact Bryce Gallery to inquire about the original
Limited edition print available

My first piece, "The Kaka is Calling" was so enjoyable to make.  The layers of washes of acrylic paint with patterns done in an ink-like vinyl paint called flashe, shows a real departure from my usual smooth oil painting style. I loved using different fabric edging for the borders of the loose canvas and using string and twine to make groups of feathers that hang from the base and are tied to the eyelets at the top.

The idea behind the loose canvas is that it alludes to Pacific tapa cloth and with the feathers and the fabric edging, the piece has elements of a garment that you can wear, in particular, a traditional Maori feather cloak or korowai.

The intricate patterns combine Maori motifs with Indian/Eastern designs.  In this close-up below of the Kaka bird's heart centre, the design is based on a Mandala, which translates as 'circle'. A Mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe. I've used it here for the purpose of establishing a sacred space.

Once common throughout Aotearoa, our native parrot the Kaka is now found in limited numbers in a few forests in the central North and South Island. From stories of our Maori ancestors and those lucky enough to be close to the Kaka in recent times, we know that they are restless birds and one can hear their calls throughout the night. Any sign of dawn is noted by the brown and red parrot, who is awake and awaiting it. Its harsh cry will surely ring out through the realm of Tane (the god of the forest). One can say “Kua tangi to Kaka” (the Kaka has cried) and know that Hine-ata, the Morning Maid, is at hand.

Therefore in painting this work with its intricately spiraling koru designs, I was enjoying this sense of dawn and new beginnings, particularly because of this painting’s departure from my usual realistic style.

“Ka tangi te Kaka” (The Kaka is calling) is a Maori phrase often said as part of Tauparapara, which is a prayer or chant to invoke the gods’ protection. This is said during Whaikorero (formal speeches) to honour visitors to a marae or as part of welcome ceremonies and social gatherings. Tauparapara indicates a wish to speak, for example:

Ka tangi te titi
Ka tangi te kaka
Ka tangi hoki ahau
Tihei Mauriora

The Titi is calling
The Kaka is calling
and i wish to call
behold for there is life

Hu-u, the sound of the wings
Oil painting on canvas, 1010 x 1370mm, 2014
Contact Bryce Gallery to inquire about the original
Limited edition print available

My second work I created for the show is "Hu-u the sound of the wings" using oils on stretched canvas, a medium that I've become very comfortable with over the last 10-14 years.  I began using my sister's old oil paints that I found around the house when I was 15 years old but started really pushing the scale I was painting at and my techniques at around 19. I especially enjoy the smooth graduation of colour, the softness and the mysterious quality that you can evoke with oils.

As we gaze over glacial lake Pukaki to Aoraki Mt Cook beyond there is a cold, ancient silence broken only by the the hokio’s wings as they beat slowly, described in ancient myth as the sound “hu-u”.

The surreal, primordial lake glows too brightly for the moody grey sky and the larger-than-life boulders allude to the undulating curves of Papatuanuku (earth mother).

Hokioi, Haast eagle and Pouakai are all names for this enormous native eagle, which preyed on Moa, had a wingspan of 3 metres and went extinct c. 1400 A.D. We, of the present day, have not seen it but our ancestors lived among this powerful bird whose resting place was on the top of mountains; it did not rest on the plains. It was a bird of black feathers, tinged with yellow and green; it had a bunch of red feathers on top of its head.

The hokio was a fearsome creature in legends and appeared in rock drawings. According to one story, the hokioi’s rival was the k?hu, which is a smaller hawk that still exists today. The hawk said it could reach the heavens and the hokioi said that only it could reach the heavens, therefore there was contention between them. The hokioi said to the hawk, “what shall be your sign?” The hawk replied, “kei” (the peculiar cry of the hawk). Then the hawk asked, “what is to be your sign?” The hokioi replied, “hokioi-hokioi-hu-u.” (“Hokioi-hokioi” is the cry of the hokioi. “Hu-u” is the noise caused by the wings of the hokioi). So these were the words of the two creatures. They then flew and approached the heavens. The winds and the clouds came. The hawk called out “kei” and descended, it could go no further on account of the winds and the clouds, but the hokioi disappeared into the heavens. The Hokioi would be recognized by the noise of its wings “hu-u” whenever it descended back to earth.

We are excited to bring you:

"An invitational group show"

7 - 18 August 2014

A selection of bird themed paintings and sculpture by:
Alan Waters | Anneke Bester | Bill Burke | Clare Reilly | Galina Kim |
Ginney Deavoll | Janie Porter | Jock Barr | Min Kim | Ruth Killoran |
Sang Kyu Moon | Sofia Minson | Trevor Askin

You are warmly invited to attend the Preview & Artist Reception
Wednesday 6th August
between 5-7 pm
(Some but not all artists will attend the Reception)
RSVP PLEASE by 4pm Monday 4th August to art2die4@brycegallery.co.nz 


Open 7 days
10am – 5pm (Mon – Fri)
10am – 4pm (Sat)
11am – 4pm (Sun)

Cnr Riccarton Road & Paeroa St
Riccarton, Christchurch 8041
New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 348 0064
Email: art2die4@brycegallery.co.nz
Web: www.brycegallery.co.nz

Posted by artist Sofia Minson from NewZealandArtwork.com
New Zealand Maori portrait and landscape oil paintings


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