Viv Kepes

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 Gallery192, Associated, group show, Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA); Group show with James Robinson and Polly Gilroy, PG pop-up Gallery; Forms of Perception, Group Show with Motoko Kikkawa, Donna-Marie Patterson and Arabella Spoors, at PG Gallery192 in 2017; and Select’17, School of Fine Art Gallery, Christchurch in 2017.


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.

‘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