LOUISE GREIG

Louise Greig was born in 1958 in Timaru and studied art at high school up to 6th form level. She went on to do an MA (Hons) in English Literature at Canterbury University and worked as a consumer advocate and advertising strategist in Auckland and Wellington. From 2007 - 2012 she homeschooled her two daughters. During this time, Louise channelled her interest in art into collecting - Russian icons, Spanish Colonial sacred art, and European baroque paintings. 

After doing several drawing and painting workshops with Zarah Southern in 2008-9, she began producing her own paintings in 2010.  Everything she has done since then has been a kind of self-styled apprenticeship, exploring the traditional subjects and techniques of the Old Masters of the baroque period. Her interest in this kind of art has to do with its intense focus on humanity. 

Exhibitions:

2012:  Aigantighe Gallery, Timaru; 'From the Shadows'

2012:  Gallery 33, Wanaka; Group Show

2012: Gallery 33, Wanaka; 'The Sights You See When You Don't Have a Gun' - group show with Jason Greig and Maryrose Crook

2013: Gallery 33, Wanaka: 'The Cassandra Complex'

EROS & THANATOS

When Midge and I originally had the idea of doing a show together, we knew that our work would be very different, both in style and mood. Midge's new painting is full of energy and life, and mine is typically dark and brooding, with the theme or mortality laced through it. Hence the title. 

Vanitas - this painting is essentially an allegory of beauty. The reference for the painting was a fashion shot from a magazine, and the bubble in the background is a symbol of transience and mortality. Homo bullo - 'Man is a Bubble' is one of a number of set pieces in the tradition of vanitas or memento mori painting. I am very interested in these kind of 'set pieces' because even though the format is quite constrained, there's a kind of freedom in that. Each artist who takes on the theme imbues it with their own meanings and emotions.

In the Blink of an Eye - this is another traditional memento mori/vanitas theme - 'In Ictu Oculi'. It's about mortality, but also about mutability and change in general. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. 

The Thread - this is a very old symbol of the individual life, or fate, which appears in Greek and Celtic mythology. The breaking of the thread is mortality. Another image I've used here, which I really like, is the human covered simply with a piece of cloth - outside of fashion, and timeless.

Orpheus - the story of Orpheus is the ultimate Love-Death narrative. Orpheus is a poet whose beloved wife, Eurydice, is bitten by a snake and dies on their wedding day. Distraught, Orpheus pursues her to the Underworld and attempts to bring her back. This is a feat attempted only by heroes such as Hercules and Odysseus, but Orpheus is armed only with his art and his love. Still, he almost succeeds, failing only because - in defiance of a specific instruction from Hades - he turns back to look at Eurydice as he is leading her out of the realm of the dead. After this, Orpheus is indeed driven by thanatos, the death drive, refusing to rejoin society. He is eventually torn apart by the female followers of Bacchus as punishment for this, thus rejoining Eurydice.

Song to the Siren - this is another theme from classical mythology, though the title is taken from Tim Buckley's song. It relates to desire as mirage, leading to death.

Fata Morgana - this is the title of one of Nico's albums and the phrase means 'mirage'. Nico is an interesting character - a Scandinavian model who became one of the muses in Andy Warhol's Factory scene, she was a genuine eccentric whose looks bored her. She revelled in the aging process and the destruction of her beauty, becoming a kind of living memento mori. 

Brother of Jesus -

Brother of Jesus - this is a portrait of James the Just, the brother of Jesus, and an interesting character who was the leader of the early church after the crucifixion. So he was the brother who lived - but he did end up being martyred by the Romans. I tried to give him a family resemblance to Jesus - same long nose, high cheek bones etc.

Venus in Furs - Rubens painted the original Venus in Furs - a full length portrait of his very young, plump mistress. Then it was the title of a novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (originator of sado-masochism), and finally a Velvet Underground song about a dominatrix. So there are overtones of both eros and thantos in this theme.  Essentially it is about seduction.