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Wintec Master of Arts student grounded in the New Zealand landscape

Wintec Masters in Painting student Amanda Watson

Wintec School of Media Arts, Master of Arts student, Amanda Watson with one of her paintings in the school’s X Block gallery. Photograph Naomi Jorge, Pioneer Studio.

For the past two years, Raglan artist, Amanda Watson has returned to the incubator of postgraduate study to undertake a Master’s in Painting at Wintec School of Media Arts.

The work is now done, and her final submission explores her encounters with the Aotearoa New Zealand landscape.

Amanda’s exhibition, titled Painting Encounters with The Land, opened on Tuesday 11 February at Ramp Gallery revealing the underlying ethos of her Master of Arts project, an interaction with canvases and materials.

The project has taken Amanda to Whaingaroa Raglan and to Taranaki; she’s worked with waterfalls, mountains and dense bush. 

The paintings have been made by wrapping or covering surfaces with large pieces of canvas - positioning them in an outdoor environment, over and around large rocks, parts of trees or organic matter on the ground and in the studio environment, scrunched and taped onto the wall.

Once in position, paint was applied and removed, water tipped and the canvas repositioned, to let an alchemy between the materials, processes, and territories take place. 

The discoveries made while working within the constraints of site and process have become part of each work. Focusing on gesture, process, and physically being in environments has unearthed many revelations along the way.

 “It's been two years of painting the landscape with plenty of trial and error, failures and surprises,” says Amanda.

“Working in this way, in collaboration with environments, has challenged me in my art making to look at things differently.”

Amanda says she is looking at how gestures can recapture a sense of ‘directness’ allowing for encounters between her as an artist, the materials and environments.

“I find it energising and relaxing at the same time being away from technology and all the hectic nature of the other environments I spend time in.”

‘The mountain in Taranaki 2018 & 2019; and from memories since 1974’, Amanda Watson, ink, graphite, compressed pigment on canvas. Photo Naomi Jorge.‘The mountain in Taranaki 2018 & 2019; and from memories since 1974’, Amanda Watson, ink, graphite, compressed pigment on canvas. Photo Naomi Jorge.

Creatives often take on postgraduate study to provide some structure and a framework to develop their artistic practice or a body of work, as Amanda has done.

“I respond well to deadlines, without them I can tend to go on forever with no end in sight. For me, one deadline is just the beginning of the next project.” 

When asked what’s next, Amanda replies, “I'm going to keep painting. I have lots of ideas brewing that will extend some of the most interesting things that have come out of my Master of Arts project.” 

Amanda Watson’s Wintec School of Media Arts final Masters submission, Painting Encounters with the Land is on show at Wintec's Ramp Gallery until 26 February 2020.

When: 11 -26 February, 2020

Where: Ramp Gallery, Wintec, Collingwood Street, Hamilton

More information about the exhibition can be found on the Ramp Gallery website

Find out more about studying towards a Master of Arts project with Wintec School of Media Arts.

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