Collectors are often obsessive and obsessive people can be collectors, such is the case with these two artists. Given full licence to indulge their passions, Helen Kerridge and Esther Smith have rummaged through their china cabinet and in their garden for inspiration and pulled together an exciting and eclectic show of the things they love.
Having recently retired from years tutoring what seems like half the adult population of painters in Hawkes Bay, Helen Kerridge is now developing her own practice. She explains that her fascination with photo realism stems from working in a photo lab early in her career, before the days of computers and Photoshop, when she was employed to retouch photographs. The results are nothing short of astounding.
All the objects Helen paints come from her own collection of old glass bottles, shells, Crown Lynn pottery and bric-a-brac housed in a large glass cabinet in her living room. They are remnants of a yesteryear, a simpler time, loaded with associations and memories that can’t be expressed in words. With meticulous care Helen paints these beloved objects, setting them amongst a paired back minimalist background, bringing them to life on the canvas with incredible skill and sensitivity.
Esther Smith has long been obsessed with flowers. From an early age they provided a source of inspiration and enthralment for her. She would spend hours in the garden photographing flowers much to her parents consternation as they had to pay for all the developing! Little did they know it was the start of a life long passion. Esther now paints flowers from photographs she has taken in her own garden, that she so lovingly tends. Her richly detailed paintings capture the fleeting beauty and fragility of flowers. Of lifetimes that are measured in hours and days. Transience and imperfection. The viewer becomes lost in the sensual folds of each petal, feeling the sun on their back, the intoxicating perfume of old world roses and the hum of bees seeking pollen.