Art awards go postal: Mysterious 'Journey' captivates judge
It looks at first glance like a series of random scrawlings on a light blue background.
But there is much more to the story of Rose Meyer's artwork Journey; From Pen to Print to Paint which was deemed worthy of this year's $20,000 New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award by judge Roger Boyce.
Journey and 35 other finalists in the annual awards can be seen in the Hamilton Gardens Pavilion, throughout the 10-day Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.
The Auckland artist's multimedia work started life as a drawing made by placing a wheeled pen into a box containing paper.
The box was then sent to a destination in the mail.
Inside, as the box was manhandled and transported to its destination, the pen's course across the paper - in a manner that Boyce likens to that of a ouija board - was recorded on the paper.
That image created by the journey then underwent a second journey through various other forms of media. A digital photograph was taken of the work, then a vinyl cut of that image was made and, finally, it was recreated in the form of a carefully crafted painting.
The end result for Boyce was captivating.
"It's a real slow burner," the Ilam Arts School lecturer said.
"The more and more I looked at it, the more it manifested as a great piece. It looks random, but on examination you can see that everything is very precise. I couldn't figure out how it was done and I loved the mystery of that - the fact you can't penetrate the technical facility.
"There is not a lot I haven't seen, but to find something new, and something that I really like ... there's a huge novelty to that."
Boyce also awarded a merit award to a work by Heather Straka, another Auckland artist, called Street Parade. The study of the back of a beautiful woman's head is also a work of mystery, and is reminiscent of the art of 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, who created the painting Girl With a Pearl Earring.
"Heather is a really well-known New Zealand artist, but this is definitely not typical of her work."
Curated by the Waikato Society of Arts, the free awards exhibition is open from 1 to 6pm on weekends, and from midday to 6pm on weekdays.