Artist journeys south
Serpentine hard work
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.