City Gallery

Past exhibition

Janet Paul: Journey through My Island

16 July–14 August 1983

Journey through My Island is the first in a series of solo shows of longstanding Wellington artists. Janet Paul presents thirty-one ink drawings of North Island landscapes. She says, 'It's my journey because it's places I know, places I have sympathy with ... It's my island because it's the only one I know.'

Born in 1919, in Remuera, Auckland, Paul was a seminal figure in New Zealand publishing in the 1950s and 1960s. She and her husband Blackwood Paul, who ran Paul's Book Arcade in Hamilton, published hundreds of titles by New Zealand writers, including Charles Brasch, Frank Sargeson, Keith Sinclair, C.K. Stead, and Hone Tuwhare. She did much of the book design. After Blackwood's death in 1965, she moved to Auckland where a branch of Paul's Book Arcade operated in High Street for about three years. In 1968, her publishing company Blackwood & Janet Paul became Longman Paul.

Paul moved to Wellington, where she worked in the Alexander Turnbull Library art department from 1971 to 1980. She then travelled the length of the North Island, painting landscapes from Cape Reinga to Palliser Bay. Her works show the influence of Cezanne and traditional Chinese painting. Using sumi (Japanese ink), she works in situ, often running inside to escape the rain. In the show, the works are hung running from the top of the Island to the bottom. 'I guess the idea behind all my work is to realise how fleeting life is, how precious', she says.

The catalogue includes an interview with the artist by Gallery Director, Ann Philbin. The show is accompanied by shows of Janet Bayley photos and Jill McIntosh prints.