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Wellington painters join Hammond at City Gallery

Wellington painters join Hammond at City Gallery Wellington

Arie Hellendoorn -
Raindrops keep falling
Click to enlarge

Arie Hellendoorn
Raindrops keep falling
Courtesy of the Artist

Press Release. For immediate release, 18 February, 2008

Wellington painters join Hammond at City Gallery Wellington…

Recent works by three Wellington artists play with traditional painting styles and conventions in a new exhibition at the Michael Hirshfeld Gallery, 2 February until 2 March. Strive Towards Your Destiny, a title taken from Douglas Stitchbury’s work Strive, samples a selection of works by Irene Ferguson, a graduate of New York Academy of Art, and Arie Hellendoorn and Douglas Stichbury, both recent graduates of Massey University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts. Although the three artists draw their influences from a diverse range of sources - from gothic portraiture and motivational slogans to geometric abstraction and the principles of art history – the works share a dry and witty reinvigoration of contemporary painting practice.

Irene Ferguson’s dark and unsettling portraits feature characters that appear to be disfigured or contorted, their freakish proportions inviting both empathy and revulsion. The paintings’ rich and dramatic tones give the eerie appearance of having been created by candle light. Irene gained a Diploma of Fine Arts with Honours from Otago School of Fine Art in 1993 and a Master of Fine Arts from the New York Academy of Art in 2005. In 2006, her work appeared in group exhibitions at the Bath Fringe Festival and London’s National Portrait Gallery, and in Group Show at Janne Land Gallery last year. Irene lives in Lyall Bay.

Arie Hellendoorn’s paintings are wide ranging in their influences. He paints portraits with no faces while his exploration of geometric abstraction is playful and vibrant. Arie also turns well-known works from art history into flattened, colour planes. Born in Holland in 1980, Arie immigrated to New Zealand in 1986. His work has appeared in exhibitions at Suite gallery in Wellington, HSP in Christchurch and at Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington and he curated and appeared in Dialect at The Engine Room in 2007. He lives in Kelburn.

Douglas Stitchbury also references the history of painting. By isolating and recontextualising elements from theatrical academic paintings, he draws a comparison between the over-blown sentiments of these historical works and the corporate motivational language of today. Douglas exhibited work in a group show of sculptural work at the Aaron Laurence Gallery, Wellington in 2006 and Stand, Shed 11, Wellington last year. He is currently working in South Korea.

Strive Towards Your Destiny
2 February - 2 March 2008
Michael Hirschfeld Gallery
City Gallery Wellington
Admission: FREE,


City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from Wellington City Council. Michael Hirschfeld Gallery is proudly sponsored by DesignWorks Enterprise IG. Thanks also to Publication and Design, Wellington City Council and Courtenay Photographics.

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