Te Waha 6 - 30 May 2015
You know the story: Heaven, but not yet. First, you have to come to your senses in a dark forest and realize you've strayed from the path. You have to lose hope, and then find something bright that renews it... -- Mary Jo Bang from her 2013 translation of Dante Alighiere's 14th century poem Inferno.
The Inferno, with locale transposed to the South Pacific, is the subject of Roger's new exhibition. Bang has described the Inferno, which has attracted artist and writers over the centuries, as "a dramatic, harrowing, and often extremely witty demonstration of the timeless pernicious effects of corruption, malice, selfishness, and nefariousness".
Te Waha, the title of Roger's exhibition translates as mouth, entrance or gate. These paintings tempt us into their metaphorical territory to be the translator and map reader. When Roger won the Wallace Art Award last September, the judges described his work as "medieval in appearance yet utterly contemporary in intent". In these fantastical landscapes and watery coasts we see horror and hope, demons and angels, serpents and dragons, supplicants and sages. But despite the strange and surreal juxtaposition of ancient imagery, the themes are the universal, timeless and current -- the search for peace and meaning amidst inhumanity.
Roger's art is also about beauty, mystery, magic. While the dragon feasts on human flesh, in another part of the picture an angel hovers above a group of lost souls -- and we feel he might just intervene. We might be in the presence of a miracle. That's the other side of what Roger is showing us. -- Jill Trevelyan
We are delighted to present this new body of work that commenced with the Wallace Art Award winning painting, Otago Harbour. After this exhibition, Roger to the United States to take up his prize of a six-month artist residency with the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York.
Roger Mortimer has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. He has exhibited steadily for 15 years and has work in collections in New Zealand and overseas.
Bay of Islands
size: 600 x 650 mm
media: ink, charcoal and acrylic lacquer on canvas