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A House And The City

Paintings and installation by Barbara Strathdee
Idiom Studio, Wellington, 20 September ­ 14 October

A tiny alpine village in northern Italy is an inspiration behind Wellington artist Barbara Strathdee¹s latest exhibition at Idiom Studio.

Since the 1960s Barbara has lived and worked in Italy as well as in New Zealand, and has held more than 30 solo exhibitions in both countries. Te Papa, Victoria University and many other public collections hold examples of her paintings, and she contributed to the recent ŒParihaka¹ exhibition at Wellington¹s City Gallery.

In 1994 Barbara was invited to work in Topolo, an almost abandoned village in the hills above Venice, on the border between Italy and Slovenia. The local poet Moreno Miorelli has organised an international arts festival in Topolo every year since, and it is now a thriving and widely known venue for arts tourism.

This year Barbara produced a small outdoor installation among the old stone farmhouses in the village. Elements of that installation have reappeared in her latest solo exhibition at Idiom, ŒA House and the City¹.

Boxy little wooden houses painted in emphatic flat colours are positioned in front of Barbara¹s large canvases of bush, garden and urban settings. The show also includes photograph works of Topolo, and of shelters made of materials from the New Zealand bush.

³The exhibition draws on my memories of tramping huts and bush bivouacs, on images of settlers¹ tents, and on more conventional houses and the way they seem planted in the local landscape.²

Barbara will hold a solo exhibition next year at the City Gallery and says, ³this will also deal with minimal shelter and how occupants transcend its limitations.²


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