VIV KEPES – Remember Me, Rangitahua’s Treasure – 19 Feb-15 March 2019
This series of paintings was made in support of a research project currently being undertaken by two of NZ’s top marine ecologists, Dr David Aguirre and Dr Libby Liggins. They are studying the adaptations of the corals at the Rangitahua (Kermadec Island) Marine Sanctuary to their rugged marine environment, and ultimately calibrating their potential to endure the future predicted climate change. The marine sanctuary at Rangitahua is one of the top four most pristine marine environments in the world. Viv spent time in their lab at the Albany Massey Campus in Auckland studying and photographing tiny coral specimens from the sanctuary earlier last year.
‘The forms expand to fill visual space in the manner of a landscape, while at the same time they are
direct descendants of still life painting (and given their environmental precarity, it would be
appropriate to place them within the vanitas and memento mori tradition). On the other hand, there
is a distinctly abstract and formalist sensibility at work. Kepes avoids a dialectic between abstraction
and figuration by concentrating on atmosphere and the ambivalent relationship of organic form to
the two modalities. There is no reason to set up a dichotomy. The flatness of the painted surface
and the illusory window of naturalism coexist in a satisfying retinal gestalt.’
Andrew Paul Wood, February 2019
Viv Kepes is a North Canterbury based artist. Having developed a love of the outdoors from
an early age, subjects from the natural world are often a focus in her work. Kepes is a current
MFA candidate at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts. She received a BFA with First
Class Honours in Painting at the SoFA in 2017 and has a BSc from Victoria University of Wellington.
Her work has been exhibited in various group exhibitions, including in 2018 Never an Answer: 12
Abstract Painters, created to celebrate 125-years of women’s suffrage, The Vivian, Matakana.
Envoys Onwards, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Auckland. Parkin Prize Finalist
Exhibition 2018, New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Gallery, Wellington. Xmas ’18, PG Gallery,
Associated, Group Show, Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA), PG pop-up Group Show with James
Robinson and Polly Gilroy, PG pop-up Gallery, and Forms of Perception, Group Show with Motoko
Kikkawa, Donna-Marie Patterson and Arabella Spoors, at PG Gallery and Select’17, School of Fine
Art Gallery, Christchurch in 2017.
Awards. In 2018 Kepes was recipient of the Ethel Rose Overton Scholarship for Masters, the Ethel
Susan Jones Fine Arts Travelling Scholarship, and a Parkin Prize Finalist. And recipient of
Bickerton-Widdowson Scholarships in 2017 and 2018.