2019 Molly Morpeth Canaday Award – Painting and Drawing

A new award plaque has been added to the 2019 Molly Morpeth Canaday Award – Painting and Drawing (MMCA) exhibition at Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi. Organisers are excited to announce that the recipient of the Law Creative People’s Choice Merit Award ($500) is the finely-rendered oil painting, Fencing Assistant, by Mark Anstis.

The Ōpōtiki-based portrait, figure and ‘plein air’ painter was surprised and happy to hear the news yesterday, as was the award sponsor, Law Creative Group. “I’m glad that Mark won,” says Brendon Law. “I’ve long admired his work, and in this case, it speaks to the taste of many people.”

Mark’s artist statement is succinct, linking his portrait of a young girl wearing red band gumboots to “the nineteenth century French realist movement, which celebrated the daily lives of ordinary people”. It is a fitting reference for a work that won the respect of a majority of voters this year.

The Molly Morpeth Canaday Award exhibition is presented by Arts Whakatāne and Whakatāne District Council, and can be viewed at Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi – Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre, until Sunday 7 April 2019.

About Mark Anstis:

In my work I attempt to draw on the rich historical tradition of representational painting, evolved to reflect the culture we find today. Through my portrait, figure and plein air landscape paintings I hope to explore the balance between the timeless appeal of the depiction of a human being, or natural scene, and the contemporary aspects that identify the subject as belonging to a particular time and place.

I enjoy the additional challenge in portrait and figure painting of attempting to capture the subtleties within a sitter’s physicality that portrays their individuality and personality; whereas my passion for landscape work has been shaped by my rural childhood, growing up on a farm in the hills and bush of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and the increasing recognition in New Zealand of the value of conservation work.

I believe that as our world changes with increasing rapidity, art that has strong ties to a cultural tradition has the potential to become increasingly important and increasingly relevant, as people search for consistency, quality and meaning in their fast-paced and rapidly evolving lives.

See more of Mark’s work at markanstis.com