North & South: ‘Artists Give Insight into Role of Psyche in Their Work’

North & South, Simon Hartley. Three prominent South Island artists gave the first of 5 lectures at the Third New Zealand Conference on the Arts and Psyche at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Saturday. Painter Grahame Sydney, writer Owen Marshall and poet Brian Turner offered an audience of more than 100 people sobering, at times personal and reflective, insights into the psyche’s effect on their respective works. Sydney explored the realism of art styles and reality. As a painter, he had to be as persuasive as possible when “painting lies”, as opposed to a camera image’s reality. “What painting tells the world the most about you?

Few artists are able to choose one which does this. “By painting the past, paintings contain part of me.” At the lecture, the artist unveiled an unfinished painting that had been returned to him, after lying in a pile of rubbish at a former residence for several decades. It was from a period when he had rejected the advances of a former lover. “I look for things which move me most to paint,” Sydney said.