title Trio's commitment to art evident
publication Nelson Mail
description REVIEW BY GAIL TRESSIDER. Leary Foster Blackmore, Red Art Gallery until April 24.
date 17:04:2013

Anna Leary takes risks and her integrity is unquestioned. Seven of her eight mixed media on canvas or linen works are about the spirit; some are surreal. Using collage, a favourite technique, with old black and white images, over-painted and worked into the layered and textured whole, they are neo-classicist in their order and seeming simplicity, yet puzzling. The artist says she wants to look at time differently, and the ambiguity of the inner/outer world. Finding Faith has a floating dancing angel and a little cross "broad symbol of faith" while Till Death Do Us Part, is disquieting. One could either find them appealing or confronting.

Leary's truly luscious Nine Lives is about the light and dark of life and opportunities that come over and over and lights bring out its full glory. "This should be in a public gallery so everyone can enjoy it" - an overheard comment.

Jane Blackmore's Road North Sunrise and Into the Ether hang side by side in the far corner of the cafe.

Small oil on canvas paintings, they epitomise Blackmore as was and as is. Both are elegantly executed. The first, more realistic, with cloud layers reflecting and echoing the curving road beneath; the second, with late afternoon light above a pond and reeds, is exuberantly free.

In Blackmore's Weather these Storms series, there is a more abstract look. Touches of orange ochre throughout - seaweed perhaps - are seemingly splotched on but remain subtle. With the spray of foam on rocky shores, water, calm and wild, light and dark, seaweed green and swirling movement, the artist is at her finest. They are lively, joyful, deceptively spontaneous and skilful.

Judging from this new work, Nic Foster has moved from his dark, up close and very abstract phase and returned to the refined mystical land and water scapes, brimming with light, that are so much admired. His paintings float, are atmospheric and lovely, accomplished with finesse. Particularly interesting is Evening Light: Sounds#2, bravely restrained with a limited palette in the grey range and although the subject could not be more different, evocative of Turner's Thames river paintings.

Leary, Foster and Blackmore graduated from NMIT 11 years ago and have survived as working artists since, serious in their commitment to carry on creating and coping with an often uncertain lifestyle. They must have been encouraged by the large crowd at their opening. Hopefully, they are supported, not only with a shared glass of wine, but also by sales; one of the ways Nelson can justify its stance as a leading New Zealand art centre.