Kiwi artists look to nature for inspiration

03:17, Aug 30 2013
Nigel Brown painting
Nigel Brown’s 1998 painting "Lake Bonney", one of the works which will be on display during the Riverton Arts Centre’s Conservation exhibition. 

The beauty of the great outdoors will be reflected indoors when the Riverton Arts Centre exhibition, Conservation, opens tonight.

Riverton Arts Centre co-ordinator Dianne Robinson said the exhibition showcased the nature-inspired work of more than 20 artists.

It would feature everything from jewellery and ceramics to traditional paintings and prints.

The range of work submitted for the Conservation exhibit demonstrated the importance of the natural world to contemporary New Zealand artists, she said.

"I think a lot of artists really value the environment and they have a close connection with it.

"It can be anything from an appreciation of the natural landscape to [exploring] how humans impact or affect the environment," Robinson said.


Southland artist Nigel Brown would speak at tonight's opening about his artistic expeditions to Antarctica and Dusky Sound, which was a great opportunity for the centre, she said.

The centre will also be holding a number of environment-themed events alongside the exhibition, in conjunction with Conservation Week, to get the community involved in the environment and arts.

Gallery assistant and artist Emma Coppin had organised a free plein air painting session, scheduled for tomorrow if the weather held out, to encourage people to get outside and get creative.

The outdoor session was a way for the community to engage with the environment while honing their art skills, Coppin said.

"It's going back to the traditional way of painting, not relying on cameras. It's . . . about an impression."

Other events include a beach junk sculpture workshop with Wayne Hill, a floral kelp presentation by Rhonda Hall and a screening of the documentary The Waterfall, which explores the experiences of artists working in Fiordland.

Conservation, funded by Creative Community Southland and Invercargill, opens at 7pm tonight at the Riverton Arts Centre, one of several events being held across Southland to mark Conservation Week, September 8 to 15.