Paul Gadsby's eco-political bird paintings

Paul Gadsby’s eco-political bird paintings

Paul Gadsby’s most recent collection of work “Takeaways” captures environmental issues and people’s impact on native bird species and their habitat. The large vibrant paintings are showing at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, opening on May 31st at 5.30pm, with a public talk by the artist on June 1st at 11am. The exhibition continues until July 28th. All welcome.

Gadsby writes, “In each painting, I depict an issue that is current, in our faces and needs immediate attention.”

The political bird painting series includes such works as ‘Black-billed Blues’ which captures the impact humans have had on the species and the environment through plastic waste.

Kahī Swansong’ is concerned with the habitat of the Kahī (Black Stilt) and the effects of high-intensity irrigation and farming activities.

‘Matuku Moana’ speaks of Lake Wairarapa, and the results of farming practices and other human interventions, such as the Ruamāhanga River diversion scheme. 

In the painting ‘Te Tangi Toroa’, Gadsby looks at the disaster occurring by longline fishing and plastic ingestion dumped by humans into the sea.

The style Gadsby employs in takeaways was influenced by the artist Don Binney.

Paul Gadsby – active with several art groups in the Wairarapa - was born in Christchurch in 1959. Primarily a self-taught artist, he has only recently started painting again in 2012, after a long hiatus going back as far as the mid-70s when he attended art classes at Mana College, Porirua, taught by Robyn Kahukiwa. Gadsby has exhibited at several group shows at Alfred Memelink Artspace, Carterton Events Centre, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, and at Aratoi, most recently in the 2017 Wairarapa Art Review.

Takeaways is Gadsby’s first solo exhibition and nicely complements the WAI and WATER\WAY shows that have been drawing busloads of schoolchildren for Aratoi’s free education programme, kindly supported by Masterton Trust Lands Trust and T G Macarthy Trust.