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Blind Date at the gallery



5 Sept, 2021


thumbnail Carmen Girullat with work-905Blind dates are full of surprises – and the Blind Date exhibition now open at the Mangawhai Artists Gallery doesn’t disappoint. Artists Carmen Girullat, Janel Colle and Shann Whitaker bring together a collection of stunning contemporary artworks while forming long lasting friendships. Their Blind Date exhibition incorporates ceramics, acrylic painting and mixed-media disciplines, reinforcing that age-old saying that opposites really do attract.

Blind Date brings together three completely different nationalities, mediums and styles. The three artists – German, South African and New Zealander – met online and after discussing the possibility of exhibiting together decided to take that leap of faith and agreed to meet in person.

“It was like a creative Tinder date!” said Shann. “While the sole intention was to share a common creative goal of exhibiting in September, what has come out of that initial meeting is so much more – the sharing, discussing and supporting of each other’s artwork.”

“It was a chance to share the exhibiting experience while getting to know people in Mangawhai,” said Carmen.

While the three artists work separately on their artworks in their own studios, they regularly meet up to share their progress, over chips and drinks of course, and like all good blind dates, there is never a shortage of conversation.

“Being an artist can sometimes be a solitary affair but collaborating with others can lead to surprising outcomes or at the very least, good friendships,” says Janel.

Their Blind Date exhibition brings together kauri forest inspired acrylic canvas painting, ocean inspired ceramics and multi-medium abstract artwork.

thumbnail Shann Whitaker with work-859“I love the kauri forest,” says Janel. “My paintings in this exhibition are a reminder of the impact of kauri dieback on our environment. These legendary trees are like human beings, we need to protect them so we can continue to grow and thrive together on this sacred land. It’s been an eye-opening and humbling journey creating these pieces.”

“Photography was my passion for years until I found myself mucking about with a lump of clay in my late fifties,” says Carmen. “I still love pulling the trigger on my camera but the mud has taken over everything! I’m very excited getting my hands dirty, playing with clay, making ornaments and useful bits. Experimenting and chucking different colours together for glazing excites me and lights my candle big time!”

Returning to New Zealand after years overseas, including in the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An, Shann has a new perspective of Aotearoa.

“Natural native shapes and colour finishes, intersecting various textured strips, representing important times in my life and an interest in mid-century form and function all inspire my new abstract mixed medium works,” says Shann.

n If you like colourful eclectic artwork then this exhibition is for you. Blind Date exhibition, at Mangawhai Artists Gallery, 45 Moir St, is open from 10am to 3pm each day until midday on Wednesday September 14.


thumbnail Janel Colle with work-617Janel Colle, Carmen Girullat, and Shann Whitaker met online before meeting in person and agreeing to exhibit together. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

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