War Stories Come to Toi Poneke Gallery

13 July 2010

Wellington artists Judi Jenkins and Lucy Jerram Moore share a passion for expressing the experiences of New Zealanders separated by war. They have combined their talents for an exhibition called War Cry/Letters Home, at Toi Poneke Gallery from Friday 23 July.

Their work, including paintings and textile works, draws on wartime correspondence and explores the effect of absence, and the desire to connect with those far away.

Judi's series of works, entitled Letters Home, is based on correspondence between her father-in-law, David Jenkins, and his sister, Jenny, who had to look after the family farm in Tuatapere, Southland, while he was away during the Second World War.

Drawing on the history and emotion of the time, Judi has created a series of canvasses and assemblages that capture the mood of these letters.

Judi's work was on display in a museum in Southland earlier this year, and she has now brought it up here for Wellington audiences.

Lucy's body of work, entitled War Cry, is more about coded communications and missing pieces, and the impact over many generations of separation, particularly during the First World War. Her work portrays a strong feeling of absence, loss and disconnection, along with attempts to communicate through symbols and codes.

The underlying theme in Lucy's works relates to the constraints of not being able or willing to talk about the war. This happened in many families, including her own. Hiding, missing, holding in, and feeling closed are all emotions Lucy wanted to portray in her collection.

Both artists are particularly interested in the impact of war on women. Judi's works show how Jenny was affected by the letters she received from her brother, who was a soldier in the Western Desert of North Africa. Lucy's works refer to women attempting to lessen the distance of separation through acts such as sewing, including gaps in the stitched patterns of work such as the canvas entitled Missing.

War Cry/Letters Home opens at 5.30pm on Thursday 22 July at Toi Pōneke Gallery, 61 Abel Smith Street ā€" just up the road from Real Groovy.