Jo Gallagher Originals

JO GALLAGHER

Living in the small King Country settlement of Piopio provides me with rich visual and personal influences. My home is in an area of dynamic rugged landscapes, rural strength and warm-hearted people. Because of this I have a strong connection to the land, it's physical presence, and experience its evolving beauty and uniqueness on a daily basis. The changing seasons which bring new light and colour, the shifting ecology that gives me reason for concern and the fluctuating activity that is ever present when part of a farming culture are all hugely significant to me as an artist.

My painting over the past 10 years has covered many aspects of my surroundings, for example the local landscape, plants and birds, animals, farm activities. More recently however I have begun to add another layer of interest in my compositions - that of humour!  Just as I believe the need to be receptive to change, the time feels right to consider how additional layers of meaning can add visual depth and awareness and move my practice ahead. The characters I feel best able to represent, the fun there is to be had with language, symbolism and entrenched beliefs are all present in my most recent body of works.

In the most recent series I use New Zealand native birds as both subject and object. They have been given a character and a starring role in my painting in order to voice my interest in the idiosyncratic and distinctive world we live in. The Tui becomes a preacher (with lecturn), the Kingfisher becomes a timekeeper (with watch) and a predator (with goldfish). This new collection of work allows me to add quirky, peculiar and the somewhat eccentric elements into my practice to keep it (and me) current, energetic and engaged.