June 12 - July 11, 2009
Watercolour is a delicate art, and the execution of portraiture is similarly difficult. In her latest project, Brenda Nightingale sets her sights on painting both.
There is an image of her daughter here, with head thrown back and the exposed neck brushed and bruised in red. She is full of defiance, but is at the same time child-like, vulnerable, and almost medieval in intensity. This is similar to the feeling of the artist’s 2008 exhibition, Nightingale.
This child apart, these are portraits of the same Wellington woman in the main. Be it in complementary greens and reds or in subtly deep yet soft blues, Nightingale suggests more than she describes. And this too, is a delicate and difficult art. The merest of outlines are snared on paper – be they of arms, forehead or torso. More detail generally is afforded eyes, lips and hair. And different viewpoints are explored: from a moody, elevated three-quarter view, to less severe angles comprising two-thirds of the face, to the front-on view.
But always the feeling is of lightness, or of transience. It is almost as if Nightingale is marking time – painting pictures full of a poetic nostalgia that reflects not only the past, but also a more complicated present.
Nightingale’s works are Italian watercolours