Featured artist Alison Hale appeared on Colour In Your Life Season Seven (7). Read a little bit about the artists here and support our site by joining and watching the episode below.
Alison Hale was born in Westport on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. She grew up beside the Buller River and much of her subject matter is drawn from her life working on the rugged west coastland. Her creative practice continues to be firmly grounded in the history and culture of the coast, its land, and its indigenous wildlife.
Alison’s strong, vibrant style reflects the richness and diversity of the coast. The subjects capture the often subtle relationships between people and place: the courage and strength of the pioneer women, horses, cattle, and the men that worked them, and more recently, native fish and the fragile ecosystems they inhabit.
Alison has mastered the technique of applying oil paint to a glass surface. It creates a unique depth, translucence, and fluidness that is entirely captivating. The image, of course, is created in reverse. Alison’s signature themes are bought to life in this medium, which are now available as high quality, ready to hang, fine art items.
Alison graduated from Otago School of Art in 1996, completing her BFA while helping to raise a family.
She works from an established studio located in the old courthouse building, one of Reefton’s prize historic buildings.
You can contact Alison directly via her website at http://alisonhaleartist.vc.net.nz/
A TRIBUTE TO THE PIONEER WOMEN OF THE COAST
Exhibition of 32 works on glass by ALISON HALE
Last summer on the spur of the moment I grabbed an opportunity to go to Karamea to visit the places where my ancestors lived when they first arrived in New Zealand from England many generations ago. My grandmother told us stories of her life there before she died, so she provided the main inspiration for me to go there, something I have wanted to do for a long time.
I have always held a fascination for stories of pioneer women, many of them truly heartbreaking. It’s part of living on the coast and understanding where we came from. The hardships they faced and their struggle for survival is almost beyond comprehension nowadays. Perhaps that is why I find their stories so meaningful today.
It wasn’t until I was standing on the beach at Kongahu however, and looking out to sea that I felt an almost visceral emotional connection to them and the first ideas for these works took shape. For me, standing on that shore, the loneliness and isolation they must have felt was tangible. With men folk absent and supplies by steamboat irregular, it was up to them to carve out a meager existence as well as raise families, literally in the middle of nowhere, often afflicted by tragedy and far from their homeland. How hostile and remote it must have seemed, and yet they faced it with courage.
The individual paintings are not intended to illustrate specific events but to invite engagement and curiosity. Through imagery and technique, I wish to tell their stories of loss, isolation, and hope. Oil paint on glass is a very challenging medium yet one which lends itself readily to the subject, with its delicious hues of gold, crimson, sienna, and umber layered and smeared by hand or brush onto the surface. The depth of the glass creates a three-dimensional world in which each gesture and attitude comes to life.
The paintings have drama and mystery despite their size, like the lives of the women they are about. We long to know why they are there and for whom or what, they wait.
Original Air Date: 1st June 2014