New Urban Realists explores aspects of everyday urban life. The featured artists are painters who specialise in photo-realism, and each offers images that confront the viewer with familiar aspects of contemporary urban reality. The timeless aspect of the New Zealand landscape is well served by good practitioners, but the painters in this instance have chosen to engage with the essential essence of city life - by way of frozen moments in time. To this end, the three invited artists celebrate the street-scape and motorway, the parking building and the shopping mall. These painters focus on the functionality of structures and spaces - many of these eerily devoid of human presence.
Auckland artist Ruth Cleland is known for her photo-realist paintings and pencil drawings of suburban landscapes as well as her abstract grid works. Her works, like those of her exhibition colleagues, are a snapshot in time and there is a sense of social documentary in her scenes of suburbia, empty shopping malls and parking buildings. Gary McMillan is also based in Auckland and creates cinematic paintings by searching his surrounding environment; sometimes referencing the world of old science fiction and film noir movies. Christchurch artist David Woodings is a photo-realist painter who specialises in the use of arcade machines in shopping mall settings to discuss social realities. Collectively their work represents a familiar, yet unfamiliar, urban street-scape imbued with the trappings of 21st century life.
Exhibition developed by Eastern Southland Gallery, Gore