Looking Beyond the Surface
A Childhood spent growing up on a flower nursery and a background in decorative painting formed the context of Janette Cervin's Masters Degree, Flowers in a Contemporary Painting Practice, Completed in 2013 at Unitec.
New Zealand indigenous and introduced flora and fauna are central to the paintings exploration of 16th century themes of abundance, celebration and transience of life in a 21st century consumer society. The body of work produced over these year of study demonstrates how one's personal stories in combination with an inquiry into the vanitas painters and the broader historical context of the floral motif as subject matter has shaped the contours of Cervin's painting practice.
Cervin presents a series of flower paintings that are splendorous with local flora and fauna - depicting New Zealand as an Antipodean paradise. Her style is highly decorative with details such as Koru, hydrangeas and birds being repeated within paintings and across works in this exhibition. Some of her works for example Birds on Blossoms, easily resembles textile or wallpaper design with its neutral coloured background and is reminiscent of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement.
I am enchanted by Cervin's painting technique- she creates the illusion of depth in a remarkable way, in that it is less of an illusion. Working on an aluminium surface, she paints in heady colour before applying glossy resin, and then repeats this layering process. She builds up specific areas at different stages , and on some artworks such as Iris and Flax and Blue Hydrangeas, the paint sits atop the final thick application of resin. All the flowers are at the height of their bloom, and you can see the details tenderly suspended amongst the gooey glazed layers, at varying depths from the surface. In some ways it is almost like looking into a deep pool of water, like a pond, as the resin as a highly reflective polish.
These paintings celebrate the vitality and beautify of our landscape, our clean green backyards, whilst also drawing attention tot eh fragility and transience of such beauty in our contemporary world.
All artwork in the 'Impossible Arrangements ' exhibition will be available for sale and delivered to any address in New Zealand or overseas. For more information please contact Lynn Lawton at firstname.lastname@example.org