''What Lies Beneath'', Gallery Thirty Three, Wanaka


The Beautiful Vagabonds, by Janette Cervin.

''What Lies Beneath'', Janette Cervin (Gallery Thirty Three, Wanaka)

Art Seen: February 22

In this week's Art Seen, Laura Elliott looks at exhibitions from Janette Cervin, the Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery, Alexandra, and Sue Rutherford.

The title of Janette Cervin's latest collection, ''What Lies Beneath'', could be interpreted both metaphorically and literally. Cervin's multifaceted images of plant and birdlife are painted on progressive layers of resin over an aluminium canvas, which creates an intense depth and dimension. The resin has a reflective finish like glass, a window on to the scene within, and different features are caught between each layer, bringing certain shapes to the forefront while others recede into the shadows. The eye wants to keep looking and searching for each tiny detail, and there always seems to be something else to uncover. Each work is an explosion of exuberant jewel-tones and abundant life, as if you've pushed aside the branches in a wood and found yourself in the midst of magic.

Cervin's use of colour is phenomenal, incorporating effective touches of the metallic, which glows under the resin. In The Garden of Excess II, a golden hue saturates the depicted scene, the extremely busy garden so flooded with sunlight that it appears to resonate warmth. The pastel-toned Remember Us Together is romantic and evocative, faintly misty like fragments of memory. Two of the standout pieces are The Circle of Life and The Beautiful Vagabonds, bursting with botanical splendor and encompassing every shade in the rainbow. Cervin's work is intricate and skilful, and has the aesthetic beauty of a stained-glass window or a medieval tapestry.