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26th Mar 2024 - 15th Apr 2024

Cold Comfort – Dean Venrooy

Over the last three decades Dean Venrooy has been painting magical scenes of the natural world, mysterious and secretive with a distinct Aotearoa origin. His practice is defined by finely executed brushwork and an earthy atmospheric colour palette often painted on found materials – wooden boards and the bases of washed-up bottles. He draws from the forests and rocky outcrops that surround his Governors Bay studio to form stages inhabited by his birds and creatures.

The other-worldly landscapes in Cold Comfort are presided over by Cerberus-like Staffordshire bull terriers and birds that look out at the viewer as if guardians of this precious space. Detailed foregrounds lit with deep greens and warm browns are enveloped by endless growth. In these deep forests native birds watch the cliffs where invasions occur into the rock and by introduced species. There is a balance and creeping tension in Venrooy’s theatrical wilderness. From behind the curtains of these stages, the question is posed of what is the ‘cost’ of living?

Venrooy paints without thematic boundary, rather letting the composition and symbols mirror the rhythms of his life and the cycles of wildlife. In paying homage to the enduring presence and growth of nature, decaying tools, fabrics and books litter the compositions as if abandoned to the elements. As Wellington art critic Mark Amery writes, “Venrooy revels in creating elegant rhythms, symmetries and visual melodies”. The intimate scale of his paintings beckons us into their worlds to experience the awe (beauty, tension, wonder) of the ecosphere.

32Dean Venrooy
Rest AssuredDean Venrooy
WelcomeDean Venrooy
Cost of LivingDean Venrooy
SurveillanceDean Venrooy
Brown StudyDean Venrooy
Coastal RetreatDean Venrooy
Cold ComfortDean Venrooy