title Passion for Painting Bonds Trio
publication Nelson Mail
description Three artists who graduated from arts school together more than a decade ago have come together for an exhibition. Anna Pearson reports:
date 10:04:2013

Anna Leary, left, Nic Foster and Jane Blackmore, who studied together at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, are exhibiting at Red Art Gallery.

They're sitting at a table at Red Art Gallery in Bridge St, and gossiping like old friends. It's more than 10 years since Nic Foster, Anna Leary and Jane Blackmore graduated from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology together. They left the polytechnic in 2002, each with a Bachelor of Visual Arts.

Their lives, as lives do, have taken twists and turns since then. There are children, and Foster, Leary, and Blackmore have done various things, but one thing remains.

They still paint.

Blackmore says: "I think out of the whole class the three of us are the ones who have pushed it, and we're still doing it." The artist and mother opened a gallery in Wellington three years ago, which she says is going "from strength to strength". Blackmore and Best is in Shelly Bay, which is where she painted the works for the Red Art Gallery show. "The big pieces are really confident, gestural, almost explosive paintings - really about the mark-making. They're pretty much based on the coast in Wellington. The other works are landscape snapshots. They're more traditional," Blackmore says.

Leary is fresh off the plane from a three-month stint in Byron Bay, Australia, and she brought her mixed-media artworks home with her. "I think everyone thinks I have just been surfing and hanging out at the beach. The truth is I have been in my studio. I had an interesting amount of luggage getting back," she says. "These works are about human existence, and delving into that. There are definitely some landscape qualities."

Foster's works are landscape-inspired, based on sites such as the Milford and Marlborough sounds, "but they're to do with atmospheric light". Foster says he has become a "much better censor of what paintings are working, and what paintings are not". "I think you also become more attuned to knowing when a painting is finished. Sometimes a good sleep is good for a painting."

Leary says while the three artists have done "other things", since graduating in 2002, making art has been a consistent thread. "I'm not surprised that we're sitting around this table, and I sort of hope that we are again in 10 years' time."

Leary, Foster, Blackmore, Red Art Gallery, until April 24.