Mahara Exhibition illustrates European links

Bob Bassant, Arrival artist’s estate
Bob Bassant, Arrival artist’s estate

The work of Dutch-trained artist, designer and educator, Bob Bassant (1927–2014), is one of three exhibitions curently featured at Mahara Gallery. His retrospective show features early paintings from his first decades in New Zealand (he emigrated in 1952) through to more recent work. The work illustrates his development from a strongly design-influenced style into a looser and espressive painter of New Zealand landscapes.

“He applied a strong sense of colour to exploring his interests in classical themes, religious symbols, and intense political moments in New Zealand as well as European history. When Bob and his wife, Gre, retired to Kapiti in 1998, he became a key supporter for the gallery in its early, formative years,” said gallery director, Janet Bayly.

Helena Fierlinger, Lichen
Helena Fierlinger, Lichen

A display of photographs by Waikanae-based Helena Fierlinger is also part of the “European theme.”  Born in Prague, Czech Republic, Fierlinger worked as a film operator in Munich before emigrating to USA in 1968. She established an animated studio in Philadelphia and proceeded to produce films for children’s television, including Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, MTV and others.

Following her children to New Zealand in 2003, Fierlinger worked in the film and photography industry, including photographing artist’s work for the second edition of a guide to public art in Wellington (available at Mahara Gallery). 

Although having exhibited in numerous group shows this is her first solo attempt, and represents “my veneration of nature and its creations of beauty.”

Winter Sampling features three paintings by Frances Hodgkins, a Waikanae landscape by her sister, Isabel Field, and a portrait of Isabel by Italian painter, Girolamo Nerli (on loan from the Field Collection). The exhibition also includes a painting by Petrus van der Velden (on loan from Avenal McKinnon), a Dutch painter who arrived in New Zealand in the 1890s. He had a significant influence on the development of art in New Zealand.

Future exhibitions include

  • the Mahara Arts Review (3 October – 1 November),
  • Nga Manu — The Bird (7 November – 13 December), newSpace,
  • Poi Piu — 5 Weavers (7 November – 13 December) and
  • Art at Parkwood — Parkwood Trust.