Wayne Seyb's vigorous oil paintings capture the raw energy of the New Zealand landscape, an expression of feeling of place rather than a literal interpretation.
He typically uses intense colour applied boldly and thickly, in sweeping strokes to express his response the mountains, rivers and coastline of the South Island.
Seyb has also worked on woodcuts throughout his career, and these prints have the typical energy, immediacy and expressiveness of his paintings, with an additional directness which derives from the precise demands of the medium.
After February 2011, Christchurch painter Wayne Seyb became a familiar sight to workers and residents in the hardest hit areas of the earthquake-stricken city, documenting both treasured buildings and poignant streetscapes in remarkable oil paintings on canvas. In his typical expressive style, he captures the personality of much-loved buildings with great affection, in works which somehow transcend the tragedy of the loss of icons of the city.
He captures within them the spirit and resilience of Christchurch, in the last proud moments of heritage buildings, as beloved vistas change.
The paintings include ‘portraits’ of Cranmer Courts, the Old Public Library, The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, St Lukes Church, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Philips St, The Provincial Chambers, and a starkly poignant Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Avonside, the devastated area near Seyb’s home. The actual dates the paintings were completed are on the back of each canvas, so the series becomes a visual diary.
Seyb also depicted street scenes with workers cleaning up, police working, facades stripped away; beneath the appropriately turbulent skies of autumn and winter. While he painted, police stopped traffic to allow him to move canvasses, workers put orange cones around him, support crews and bakeries gave him hot tea and scones. In a way, he became the painting equivalent of the wizard of Christchurch...
Occasionally we find ourselves in an exhibition which feels like a defining point in an artist’s career – this is one. Yet Seyb is never self-conscious in creating paintings – it has always been about his instinctive and personal response to what is happening immediately around him, what he actually sees. After the major quakes, he took rubbings of the cracks in the roads around his home, and created an initial series of abstracts. In March he returned to figurative painting, looking up from the ground to the heritage so loved by Cantabrians, and painted what he saw in the moment.
A number of major street scene paintings are also available (up to 1.8 metres across), please enquire to view these on request.
His previous series pulses with the intensity of the Fiordland.
These arose from a unique artistic excursion into Dusky and Doubtful Sound into remote Fiordland last October, at the invitation of the Dunedin-based Caselberg Trust .
Sometimes the rain would wash out paintings, sometimes it contributed to them such as the atmospheric, abstracted Snug Cove II.
You have to have an imaginative hook to look at the landscape because otherwise it is just the picturesque, he says. "I like to look at it as something symbolic. It gives a more symbolic edge to the landscape which is what inspires me to paint."
Other works available
We have a small selection of Fiordland landscapes in watercolour, unframed, at $1800 in addition to the very beautifully portrayed Waterfall I & II. Also a series of striking woodcuts priced from $500. Please enquire.
Other recent work includes small paintings of the Marlborough Sounds - the Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sounds. Beautifully expressive, textural paintings capturing the light on water and land.
More About the Artist
Born in Temuka in 1961, Wayne Seyb studied formally for a year at Otago before leaving to pursue his individualist direction. He set up a co-operative gallery, Artattack, in 1981, and has since exhibited regularly in dealer and public galleries throughout New Zealand, and in Germany.
He first exhibited at Grove Mill in 1996 with JS Parker and John Madden and returned in 2004 and 2006 and now 2008 with very successful shows at The Diversion Gallery. Wayne Seyb has a strong following as a highly respected artist with a very individual voice, well respected in the New Zealand art scene.
He is best known for his expressive oil paintings, capturing the raw energy of landscape or an expression of feeling for his subject rather than a literal interpretation. His woodcuts also have a growing following among collectors, for their freshness, quirky take on life, references to literature and art history, and their affordability. We have a selection of woodcuts available from $500 each unframed, please enquire.
Wayne Seyb and his wife and children lived for a decade in Karitane near Dunedin, its landscape inspiring much of his painting. They moved to Christchurch in 1999, when the Port Hills, the Southern Alps and West Coast of the South Island have become a new field of inspiration, although Otago and Southland continue to feature strongly in his paintings.
Please contact us to confirm current prices: most prices are posted at the time of exhibition, and may be revised as the artistsí values increase.