Outcrop – Dean Venrooy
Only two scales, said British sculptor Henry Moore, innately intrigue: “the gargantuan and the intimate”.
Banks Peninsula artist Dean Venrooy has developed a unique arts practice favouring the latter: small, jewel-like landscapes painted within the confines of small, often found objects – in this exhibition recycled or recovered timber, worn glass, a magnifying glass. On such locally sourced material we find exquisitely painted diorama featuring the geological formations of Lyttelton harbour and the plants and birds that cling to, or nestle into, these forms.
While it is tempting to place these finely layered works within the early tradition of New Zealand landscape painting, there are closer parallels to the Enlightenment notion of a state of nature unspoiled by European civilisation. In Outcrop Venrooy translates this idealisation into a surreal depiction of a natural world at once structured and ordered while also wild, far-removed from human intervention.