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Dorle Pauli, Darfield Artweek Judge 2022

In every gallery space I find myself in I’m reminded of Bill Sutton’s famous saying that there are many rooms in the house of art, and this exhibition proves yet again that he was right. It is not easy to judge an exhibition of such diverse work,  but to me personally it is very reassuring to see that the arts continue to play such an important role in our communities. We all have different reasons for making at art, and most of the time that is an enjoyable experience, provided things go right. It is often a bit of a challenge to meet one’s own expectations and it takes even more courage to show one’s work to a large public audience. Needless to say there were many tight contests for the various prizes, and I hope that next year, there will be even more entries to this remarkable exhibition.


MCAC Premier Award

All Said & Done, Vicki Knudsen

This moody water-colour of a village church and cemetery follows (like so much of the work assembled here) the best tradition of New Zealand regionalism, without losing its individual character. The medium is used to great effect to express the stillness, timeless dignity and perhaps mournfulness of a scene which is often overlooked in our busy, everyday lives.


Friends of MCAC Award

Waves, Jo Loughnan

The informality and freshness of the work in terms of its style matches the informality and inherent movement of the subject matter, a family outing to the beach. Accents of colour further support this very convincing combination of style and content.


Buddle Findlay Award

Red Thread, Annika Maenpaa

The compelling Red Thread is a highly engaging and sophisticated, contemporary interpretation of a traditional motif, the seated female figure.


RJ Crouch Award

The Estuary, Margaret White

This is a beautifully executed print, celebrating the more intimate, peaceful, and lesser-known locations of New Zealand in an appropriately traditional manner.

Gordon Harris Award

Design 1-4, Gray Leonard

This award goes to complete set of Leonard’s miniatures, and their assured composition based on a joyful and experimental interplay of shape and colour.

Malvern Business Award

Above Washpen Falls, Soon-Lee Spicer

This well executed multi-coloured print, based on the local landscape and native flora, is arranged in a particularly decorative and well-balanced composition that draws the viewer into an expansive, familiar vista.


Malvern Business Award

Blue Iris, Suzy Abbott

The iris is a particularly challenging and capricious subject in terms of  the complexity of its form, intensity of colour and structural detail. The artist has met this challenge with a clear eye, a great deal of patience and an assured handling of her medium.

Malvern Business Award

Humpback Escape, Gus Milne

This award has to be seen in context this entire series of scrimshaw-based images. They are as tiny as many of the examples of traditional scrimshaw they refer to, but the precision and clarity of the images draw the viewer into long-gone world. As an ensemble based on the traditional seafarer’s art, these small works remind us that whatever the human experience, people find a way to express that experience with whatever medium is at hand. Milne’s work is at the same time thoroughly contemporary in its respectful re-use of precious materials. 

Malvern Business Merit Award

On the Edge, Ian Walls

This work demonstrates how contemporary media can be combined with encaustic to achieve a mysterious, and in this case quite brooding, interpretation of an unusual landscape motif.


Malvern Business Merit Award

Spring Tide, Rose Rudd

There are many fine works included in this exhibition that embrace the expressive potential of paint in a gestural, abstract manner. This painting leads the viewer into the experience of a notional open landscape through the use of the vigorous brushwork and subtle linear elements.

the drawing room Merit Award

Kotukutuku, Stuart Clook

Although thoroughly innovative in terms of its technique, this shimmering, seemingly transparent image based on native flora takes us back to the thoughtful mood of 19th century black and white photography.

the drawing room Merit Award

Five Little Boxes, Lorraine Natusch

This well-crafted cast glass ensemble is a very engaging demonstration of the appeal of glass as sculptural medium. The changing light alters its appearance throughout the day, just like it affects the urban scene the sculptures refer to.

the drawing room
Youth Merit Award

Chewing Gum for Eyes, Molly Mannering

This is an enigmatic and highly individual work, reminiscent of the surrealist tradition. Its introspection sets it apart from works that are more concerned with the outer appearance of people and nature. 

Bob Gillard Youth Award

Stagnant, Ainsley Worling

An informal, modest but beautifully observed water-colour, which shows remarkable technical competence. A nice touch is the inclusion of a label on one of the jars, which highlights that even the most everyday object is worth noticing. The same admirable technique is evident in the artist’s more illustrative second submission (No 233), which introduces us to an intriguing and somewhat magical narrative

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