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Home is where the art is


Mel Rodriga in studio IMG 1806 (1)-394Melanie Rodriga’s 40 year career as an international film-maker could be characterised as a 40 year career of looking at light – directing or producing eight feature films, numerous short films, TV dramas and documentaries – by being attentive to the four major filmic elements of form, light, shadow, and the time of day, and how these things relate to one other under changing physcial conditions. 

“Painting replicates the attentiveness of filmaking and also frees me from the tyranny of it,” she says. “Industrial filmmaking is the art of compromise, whereas painting is making art that aims to be free of compromise.” 

In her large luminous oil paintings for her solo exhibition ‘Kaipara Day and Night’, Rodriga utilises soft contours with muted, neutralised tones, with an emphasis on atmosphere, mood and vaporous effects. 

Melanie says that in these paintings she is contemplating the relationship between time, form and light. 

“I’m interested in representing the memory of a place’s atmosphere and spiritual essence at a particular time of day, shrouded and misted by time. Living on the Kaipara there is a strong sense of the natural world, however modified it is. Landscape and light are always vibrant, dynamic and changing. They evoke strong responses. I paint to express my own response to the way light influences form and colour in the landscape.”

In her work, Melanie acknowledges other painters drawn to the west coast such as Sarah McBeath, Mark Cross and Stanley Palmer. Though she often chooses Kaipara views that have not been painted before, she likes to paint the same aspect again and again, often at different times of day.
“Most of my paintings are the views I can see from my home at Oneriri, from a peninsula bordered by the Otamatea river. From there I can see Pukeareinga, Pukekaroro and the Brynderwyns in the north, over to Tanoa and Ngaupiko Point, and to the west, Whakapirau and Pahi.”

Melanie will be painting in the gallery during her exhibition – the second of two large canvases, a partner to her completed painting ‘Takahoa, Stormy Afternoon’. 

 Kaipara Day & Night, Mangawhai Artists Gallery, from June 13, 10am-3pm 7 days, free entry. Visit mangawhaiartists.co.nz.

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