Academy Galleries

130 years: A long and proud history

Autumn Exhibition 2021

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Autumn is upon us and so too this aptly named exhibition of not only autumnal tones especially on the central walls, but of a vital array of works across the spectrum of subject and medium from around NZ.

Particularly impacting is the obvious development of some artists with a new strong presence as if breaking out of lockdown and levels and shouting a freshly found freedom.

The progression through the galleries is a journey of revelation. Linger at the entrance and be entranced by magical large scale photography juxtaposed with intimate poetry in paint on one wall and sublime still life on the opposite. The spaces beyond move from a contemporary selection to evocative landscape and onward to bold and bright works drawing the viewer to the annex and an installation that intrigues. Interspersed are 3D pieces on plinths that may be sophisticated, quirky, endearing or exquisite. Towards and within LightSpace is a symphony of the dramatic and colourful with quiet pauses and reflections. Treasures abound.

Such a celebration of the artistic spirit can only be achieved by a team to whom I am indebted. Curatorial collaboration with Rob Sullivan was immensely helpful in assembling a vast number of diverse works in limited time. Thanks to all and to the artists whose creativity adorns these wonderful Academy Galleries.


Suzanne Herschell
March 2021

To view an online copy of the Autumn Exhibition catalogue, please click here.


Special Award - Gordon Harris Award


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For this exhibition Gordon Harris kindly donated a prize for the Gordon Harris Award, which was judged by President Greg Chaston and Curator, Suzanne Herschell.

Greg's comments are as follows;

The winning work was judged separately by Suzanne and myself and we consulted at length over the many contenders. After much to-ing and fro-ing we finally came to the agreement that this piece was indeed the winner.

The artist has in fact had an up and down history exhibiting work at the Academy with some paintings not being accepted others winning awards. The path of an artist is a rocky one but it just goes to show never give up

Suzanne's comments are as follows;

The work is poetry in paint combining a historical almost Dickensian portrayal and a contemporary reflection and protest in a palette of sobering textural grunge. Illuminated with fragments and windows of colour and warmth, it carries a storyline that’s penetrating, thoughtful and provocative. It subtly tells women’s stories. It’s relevant and topical and timeless. Its rendition is also visually harmonious despite the subtext and I love it. Congratulations.


The winner of this award is Jenny Martin for "We're so lucky"


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Exhibition Award Winners

Each members exhibition has two awards presented; The President's Award, and The Curator's Award.

The President's Award is judged by Greg Chaston, current NZAFA President.

Greg's comments are as follows;

The President's award has once again been a very difficult task. The following artists deserve special mention;

Karen Reid’s "What's for dinner", Jade Valour's  ceramic wine glasses, Marion Anderson's "Street Walking", Mary Amour's "Liz", Miranda Woollett's "Tui in flight" Lee Russell's "Shoreline Wanderers", Vivian-Manthel French’s "Summer snow Mt Ruapehu" and Linsay Blakeley's "Receding Tide".

As I walked around the gallery with so many superb works to view this winning painting continued to impress me with its colour pallet. I found an intriguing connection between the collaged eyes and lips with the endless treatment of these facial features in the life of a female movie star.

The winner of the award is Mary Amour's “Liz”  

The Curator's Award is judged by Suzanne Herschell, Life member of NZAFA.

Suzanne's comments are as follows;

‘An acrylic still life study with an unassuming title and humble objects but a brilliantly impacting painting in a monochromatic palette.

Bottles! Six of different heights and shapes, regimented. Their extraordinariness is conveyed in a translucent articulation of illumination and reflection superbly rendered. Inanimate bottles, vessels with a past life mesmerize and have a meditative effect, assume identities and become animate under the influence of light. A wonderful work.’

I have great pleasure in presenting this award to Lee Robinson for her acrylic work "Six Glass Bottles".



Autumn 2021 - Photo Gallery

IMG_5858 Installation.jpg IMG_5859 Installation.jpg IMG_5860 Installation.jpg IMG_5862 Installation.jpg IMG_5894 Mary Amour.jpg IMG_5890 Jenny Martin.jpg IMG_5898 Lee Robinson.jpg IMG_5866 Cnr view.jpg IMG_5868 Annex.jpg IMG_5871 Cnr view.jpg IMG_5873 Wall view.jpg IMG_5877 Gallery view.jpg IMG_5880 Lightspace view.jpg IMG_5883 Lightspace view.jpg IMG_5885 Lightspace view.jpg IMG_5913 Amanda Chapman & Chris Dunn.jpg IMG_5912 Philip Markham & others.jpg IMG_5922 Gabrielle Ridgway Evans & others.jpg IMG_5925 Simon Jay & others.jpg IMG_5937 Jane Santos.jpg IMG_5939 Christine Winbush & others.jpg IMG_5946 Christina Bonallack.jpg IMG_5948 Kylie Matheson2.jpg IMG_5900 Philippa Christmas & Cheryl Corrado.jpg IMG_5901 Ann Breen.jpg IMG_5903 Dale Martin & Miranda Wollett2.jpg IMG_5929 Studio Reset.jpg IMG_5933 Diana Treeborn.jpg IMG_5951 Jan Perkins.jpg