Circle opens Sat 24 June, 1.30pm

Posted by Fiona Cable on

Six unique artistic expressions exploring the traditional Tondo.

Peter Atkinson, Kirsty Black, Sonja Drake, Eva LLorens, MG Walker and Ellen Johansen.

Meticulously painted interiors of ancient Roman Chapels by Atkinson, juxtapose with quirky figures on colour-field backgrounds inspired by the history of coffee in New Zealand by MG Walker and Johansen. To the calm stillness of bedroom interiors by Llorens complimented by ethereal landscapes from Drake’s imagination. Black provides the abstraction; tasty morsels of colourful splodges like antipasto plates.

Peter Atkinson

Formed and reformed over a thousand years, the circular trace of the Eternal Present remains often unnoticed by 21st century visitors in the pavements of Rome's Basilicas and Chapels.  Already another thousand years old when they were reworked into the Eternal City's Romanesque architecture, these porphyry and serpentine remnants of the Imperial past were a reminder to medieval worshipers that all human endeavours are temporal, subject to change and decay. Like the spaces they portray, these small circular paintings invite contemporary viewers to pause and to consider:

Time past and time future

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end which is always present.                             T. S. Elliot.     Burnt Norton



Ellen Johansen and M G Walker have been creating collaborative art works for the past four years, drawing upon their divergent artistic approaches. This series is based on their interest in coffee, making coffee and the history of coffee. It led them to discover Craig Miller’s book, Coffee Houses of Wellington 1939 to 1979: coffee in pre-espresso New Zealand. “We decided to make a series of small works- on-paper responding to this history, focusing on the visual history contained in this book,” explains Ellen.


Kirsty Black: I use plates as my palette and often think that they look like an array of tasty morsels with their colourful splodges of paint, so I decided that the mini Tondi were the perfect medium to paint 5 little round antipasto plates.  Most cultures have their own version of antipasto; Meze, Hors d’oeuvres, Canapé, Izakaya, which all serve the same purpose - colourful, appetizing mouthfuls to share and enjoy with friends and family. Throw in some champagne and music and you’re away.


Sonja Drake

In this series Sonja uses the river’s flow to the sea as a metaphor for life’s journey, reflecting on the cyclical nature of existence. While observing the complexity of the natural world she also reflects on the interrelatedness of everything in the environment including us, and the tenuous and delicate balance of life.


Eva Llorens

This series of beds presented in this collective exhibition is the continuation of a story that allows people to tell stories that are not mine. The interpretations of the paintings are always personal. Others can see what I had not even imagined. This is what I find most fascinating about painting: the capacity of evocation and the ability to take you on an inner journey. Like in a circle, looking, feeling and thinking merge without the need for any words.


A tondo is a Renaissance term for a circular work of art, either a painting or a sculpture. The word derives from the Italian rotondo, "round." Artists have created tondi since Greek antiquity. Come by to enjoy the diverse range of highly competent paintings and prints by six accomplished painters.

Circle brings together six unique artistic expressions exploring the Tondo. Meticulously painted works by Atkinson, MG Walker and Johansen, Llorens, Drake and Black.


Exhibitions news

← Older Post Newer Post →