JR McCormack has had many successful exhibitions and is renowned for his strange and complex individuality… There’s never a dull moment with JR in the studio; he paints everything from controversial political pieces to stolen teapots with their own personalities. Born in Southland, JR started out as a white water rafting guide and a medical ski patroller and began painting during his inevitable injury recovery periods.
Almost surrealist in style, JR’s work is clever, interesting and can often spark debate. His most recent work delves into historic New Zealand huts, creating quirky landscapes which are beautifully detailed and reveal his passion for the New Zealand outdoors. He’s been included in the book ‘New Zealand Favourite Artists 2’ by Denis Robinson and his works are found in private collections nationally and internationally.
Our resident photographer and exhibiting composite images photographer Nicci Hensman goes under her own brand name PURE REVERIE. Deep and never transparent Nicci offers a woven tale of human nature with themes of twisted fairytales, myths and legends. There’s something about these carefully created images that draw you in, enabling the viewer to make their own interpretations and connect on their own personal level.
The beautiful and flamboyant Kate Watson is well-known for her vibrant paintings of musicians, jazz scenes and gorgeous ladies seductively playing the violin.
Kate has always loved to sketch people and after leaving school, she began her career sketching fashion ads for popular new Zealand department stores. However, busy family and business life meant Kate didn’t take up painting full-time until later in life. One night, she dreamed of a vibrant, red-haired lady playing the violin and was immediately inspired to start painting again. Since then, Kate’s colourful musical scenes have become synonymous with her style and are sought after nationally and internationally.
Kate has a passion for family life, good food, wine and music and this shows in her artworks. If you’re passing by the studio and hear jazz music flowing from the windows, you’ll know Kate is here painting!
Tess Sheerin has recently been noted across the country for her unusual depictions of native wildlife in the form of large, public murals. She is fuelled by a need to raise awareness around pollution and its effects on our environment, particularly in coastal areas. The murals are hand painted in distinctive black and white style contrasting with expressive bursts of colours.
Tess has been traditionally trained, but her works are heavily influenced by the UK’s street art scene, Japanese printmaking, design and the surrealist movement. Though murals are a large part of Tess’ work, they are not her only interest; broken surfboards, doors and various pieces of rubble are used to morph into sculptures, paintings and instillations. Before embarking on her current street art tour around New Zealand, Tess spent some time at the Ivy Box, creating a series of artworks created on rubble from the Christchurch earthquake.
The Ivy Box Director Lynda Hensman started the gallery in 2015 to bring together talented artists from around the region. Painting together in the studio above the viewing room, she curates and creates an atmosphere where local artists can share their passion for art and zest for life.
Her own artwork has a distinctly Gothic style, highlighted with themes of rebirth and life. Spiritual (though not religious) themes are also present, giving viewers plenty to think about and discover. Her rose and moth paintings are symbols of awakening while her rabbit series plays with words, expressions and human nature. Her latest abstract artworks exhibit a new style of painting for Lynda, these high-gloss artworks play with texture, light and depth, evoking distant landscapes and morning skies.
Lynda adores painting in oil with a glass of full-bodied red wine in hand!
Penney Cowley originally worked as a hairdresser, eventually owning her own salon in Queenstown. But looking for a change of scene, she travelled overseas and settled in rural East Africa. Here, she live and worked alongside locals in a remote village, striving towards a better way of life. Understanding this simpler way of living and with a new appreciation for every day life, Penny returned to Queenstown to paint. Her artwork is an expression of her life experiences.
Born in the UK, Kassia travelled the world and lived for a while in the USA before moving to sunny Queenstown, New Zealand. Kassia has a passion for colour and as a young child, regularly won colour-in competitions! As an adult, she began painting beautiful landscapes, but did not find it fulfilling or satisfying. After casting off the limitations of what conventions say art is “supposed to be about” she found herself painting the colour studies she is now known for. Authentic, vibrant and emotive, Kassia’s artworks would look great in any room.
Kassia has exhibited her artwork throughout the South Island and is currently in residence at The Ivy Box.
“When I get my paints out, I feel what I want to paint – I choose a colour and express what I feel, that’s why it feels so good, I’m being true to myself and not painting what I think others want.”
Originally from the South of France, Caroline lived in Tahiti, French Polynesia for more than 20 years.
She was immediately fascinated by the Polynesian culture; Tahitian dance, percussion sound, traditional singing, the art of weaving and tattoos… the subtle and delicate knowledge. Although she grew up in a family with a strong artistic sensibility, her passion for painting was only unfolded more recently, through a friend who helped her put my emotions on canvas. Since that revelation, she have been developing her art on large canvas using collage and hand printing techniques to express the mana of Polynesian culture.
The light, the exceptional colors of the Pacific Islands and the graphics of Maori tattoos, specially Marquisan tattoo are a great source of inspiration for Caroline. Marquesan tattoo for its strongest traditional symbols and the beauty of his design is in the heart of her creations at the Ivy Box.
Maree has always been a creative spirit, but describes herself as an ‘accidental artist’. She combs Queenstown’s beaches with her trusty Cavalier (pictured), thinking, reflecting and collecting driftwood. She then dries and treats the wood and assembles pieces to create surprising shapes and characters, from hearts to ballet dancers.
“Sometimes I have specific pieces I’m looking for and other times I’m drawn to a piece and instantly inspired. I love that Mother Nature discards, can be rebirths into something that brings it to a new life.”
Each and every piece of Maree’s artworks are unique and has its own story.
BA(hons) Fine Art
Claire creates first for herself, then for others, resulting in a body of works with a sense of passion and true creativity. She works instinctively, working straight onto the canvas, enabling herself to be compelled completely by compassion.
Claire’s artwork shows a fascination with anatomy, mythology and insects; her inspiration comes from a childhood steeped in a world of natural history and death!
Sue has taken the relationship between the human form and the pristine environment to create powerful, original paintings.
Realistic forms merge, dissolve into space or transform into something else, a landscape becomes a face and objects assume impossible contortions that could be dreamlike visions. Sue’s work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and her paintings have sold to a variety of people across the globe.
Introducing Craig Hubber is an incredible musician and songwriter, playing everything from hard hitting rock to a sweet melody. His music has featured in the movie ‘The fastest Indian’ and he’s the Ivy Box’s go-to musician for exhibitions and parties!
“I love the creative process of making music. For me it’s either an earth shattering big kick arse rock band or justa nice stripped back acoustic show.”
Craig is available to play at your special function. You can check out clips of his music on Facebook and Youtube.
Fresh, innovative and incredibly talented, Rhys was a much-loved artist here at the Ivy Box, where he created a number of amazing artworks. His fantastic energy and spirit will never be forgotten.