Spectacular New Zealand landscapes, skies, and weather feature in new series of paintings by Wellington artist Gerda Leenards. Born in Nijmegen, Holland, in 1946, she came to New Zealand with her family in 1956. Her work featured in four previous City Gallery exhibitions. She lives and works at Breaker Bay, near the entrance to Wellington Harbour—she can watch the weather from home.
Leenards's Fjords series, based on views around Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, evolved from photos and sketches she made while accompanying a scientist on a research trip there in 2002. Hills appear like veils and mist weighs heavily on the land. ‘It is the abstract and emotive qualities that are important to me’, says Leenards, ‘the subject is only part of it.’
Leenards's Mists series recalls other art transfixed by the power of weather: Anne Noble’s Wanganui River photographs, Vincent Ward's films, and James K. Baxter's Jerusalem-era poetry. Curator Gregory O’Brien says her paintings are not self-contained pictures but ‘pieces of landscape that rhythmically step their way around the gallery walls; landscapes in which the only human presence is the viewer in the gallery'.
Leenards and Wellington meteorologist Erick Brenstrum give a talk on the show. Fjords, Mists, and Vapour is presented as part of the 360 programme, a full perspective on Wellington art and design.