Artist jour­neys south

Ser­pen­tine hard work

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Davey McGhie ad­mits it is hard to get the West Coast out of his sys­tem.

The Ti­tahi Bay artist is back af­ter two weeks in Hok­i­tika, where he was com­mis­sioned to do a large sculp­ture that will sit out­side the town’s pub­lic li­brary.

Made from ser­pen­tine, which he de­scribes as ‘‘a cousin of green­stone’’, it is part of his Fruitti se­ries of or­ganic pieces.

Mr McGhie had at­tended a 10-day sym­po­sium in the town in March and was able to make valu­able con­tacts in the West Coast arts community.

‘‘It’s a buzzy place, just an awe­some area for art and dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als. ‘‘I re­ally had my eyes opened. ‘‘Us­ing ser­pen­tine just felt so pow­er­ful, but there was a lot of grind­ing and drilling, which was time-con­sum­ing.’’

He was work­ing in a pub­lic place in Hok­i­tika so at­tracted plenty of at­ten­tion – peo­ple were con­stantly com­ing to touch the ser­pen­tine and talk to him, Mr McGhie says.

Where pos­si­ble, he talked up his home­town and its thriv­ing art community.

‘‘When peo­ple heard I was from Porirua they were like ‘awe­some’.

‘‘I think what I was do­ing was a lit­tle bit con­tro­ver­sial. There’s all these feel­ings around green­stone, which ser­pen­tine looks like.

‘‘In say­ing that, they also had two painted field guns out­side the li­brary.’’

Mr McGhie says work is steady and he has picked up a num­ber of pub­lic and pri­vate com­mis­sions.

A large seed- like sculp­ture re­cently went up near Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Re­cov­ery and Arts Cen­tre in the Marl­bor­ough Sounds, while an­other piece has a prom­i­nent spot in New Ply­mouth.

He is plan­ning to en­ter the fa­mous Sculp­ture by the Sea ex­hi­bi­tion in Bondi, Sydney, next month.

‘‘I’d like more work, I think all artists do. But this is the best job in the world – I have free­dom to ex­press my­self in so many dif­fer­ent ways.’’

Wet work: Artist Davey McGhie with two – much smaller – ex­am­ples of ser­pen­tine, the stone quar­ried from the Grif­fin Range near Hok­i­tika. The stone sparkles when wet and is in­cred­i­ble to sculpt with, he says.

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