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Acclaimed artist weaves gesture on canvas

November 2008

Acclaimed New Zealand artist weaves gesture on canvas

Lorraine Rastorfer, Programme Director for Visual Arts at Wellington Institute of Technology and acclaimed New Zealand artist saw her two passions combine this November, in galleries across Wellington, when she organised both her students exhibitions and her own exhibition Himmel on display in the Mark Hutchins Gallery.

Himmel translates as ‘heavens’ or ‘sky’ in German. Lorraine’s early childhood was filled with both German and English words, most memorably by her Austrian grandmother who would “communicate with wild gesticulation and humour to make her words embody their meaning.”

Fascinated by the power of gesture to evoke layers rich in meaning with a simple movement, Lorraine began to translate the gesture into painted form; her recent work continues her exploration of layering and gestural weaving.
“Over the last few years I have had exhibitions that have referenced ruffled fabrics and air currents. My latest work expands on this I wanted to draw viewers in and hold them in a balance between the stillness of the painted object and the movement of the marks, the freedom and restraint of the gestures, depth and surface of the work.”

With a Master of Fine Arts, and twenty years experience painting nationally and internationally, Lorraine still loves the medium, choosing it for both its risk and its reward. She says, “I love paintings and painting. The immediacy and risk is always challenging and the results are so physically individual to the human touch, which I find endlessly fascinating.”

Creating art and teaching art are mutual passions for Lorraine and it provides her with a balance between focusing on her inner world and focusing on the world around her. “Teaching is the perfect balance to the isolation of my studio and if I didn’t do it I would become a recluse and live in a box of paints.”

Lorraine says, “I love teaching because I can learn and talk about art as part of my job, and witness students developing in many different ways. Young people are enormously thought-provoking and I have a huge respect for their ideas and attitudes.”

As passionate as she is about art and her students, Lorraine is also hugely passionate about Creative Technologies programmes (including Visual Arts, Digital Media and Design) at WelTec. “WelTec is the perfect place to explore the process and practise of creating artwork.”

“Our tutors are practicing artists and are passionate about teaching, we believe in supporting and nurturing diversity which leads to our students developing their own unique style. We are now based in a newly renovated building in the Wellington CBD (with gorgeous views) and the place is buzzing with a bunch of great students.”

“We know that students learn through doing, and need excellent practical and theoretical skills. Our programmes all teach collaboration and students have many opportunities to gain employment through our extensive industry links.”


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