Fenton Street Art Collective: Contrast of traditional and modern on display

Rhiannon Higgs with art pieces from her exhibition.

The contrast between traditional and modern is on display at a Stratford art gallery.

Midhirst-based artist Rhiannon Higgs, 19, and Whanganui-based artists Keeley Eastwood and Bradley Mosen have their artwork on display at the Fenton Street Art Collective this month.

Co-owner of the Fenton Street Art Collective Jo Stallard says the two exhibitions complement each other.

“I like the juxtaposition of the modern and traditional. The exhibitions both show what the artists hold dear and what they are attracted to. Rhiannon’s exhibition is showing the different aspects of her home through a modern lens. Keeley and Bradley’s exhibition is a traditional focus on home life.”

Rhiannon’s exhibition Re-Constructing features 11 photographs of architectural elements including doors, windows and structure.

“Re-Constructing is a revaluation of the spaces we have built around us. Our homes, built with square windows and rectangular doorways, are a tangible representation of the way we live. This is my first solo exhibition and my first time displaying my art at the Fenton Street Art Collective. It’s really exciting to get my work out there for the public to see,” Rhiannon says.

Rhiannon is in her second year at Massey University in Wellington.

“I’m majoring in Spatial Design and I’m also taking electives in Fashion Design. There are a range of different art disciplines that I’m interested in.”

Rhiannon took the photos last year for her photography elective.

“I took the photos during the alert level 4 lockdown. I was initially going to take photos of different construction sites in Wellington but I had to change that as I came home. It was a bit of a challenge and I had to think outside the box but I’m pleased with the end results.”

She says living rurally had an impact on her photographs.

“When I look outside the window of my studio and family home in Taranaki, I am met with inspiration not only from the view beyond, but from a feeling of solitude and space. It was not until lockdown that I began to explore the parameters of the space around me, and the juxtaposition between frame and view.”

She says showcasing her work is a ‘wonderful opportunity’.

Keeley Eastwood and Bradley Mosen’s joint exhibition Attachments features artwork created for the Whanganui’s Artists Open Studios event. The event was due to take place in March last year but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s great that our work is getting to see light of day after the cancellation of the event. We’re very appreciative of Jo and her team for their time and effort into setting up and highlighting the exhibition.

“We drove through Stratford a couple of years ago and came across the Fenton Street Art Collective. We found it very interesting and unique. It’s a fantastic place.”

The exhibition features around 15 pieces. The artistic techniques showcased include drypoint, woodcut and additive woodcut printmaking, hand-colouring, and photography.

Many of Keeley’s original handmade prints on display were created in 2019 and 2020 at workshops tutored by other Whanganui-based artists.

“It also features other pieces I’ve made. While the exhibition we’ve pulled together has a general theme of ‘nostalgia’ many of the featured works touch on varying themes within this.”

One of Keeley’s original handmade prints on display is Kunes On A Cloudy Day.

“The original is a one-off, hand-coloured piece and many people seem to enjoy it, so I’ve had it digitalised, with poster and card versions now available. At this exhibition I’m also launching a much larger, A2-size ‘limited edition’ version, as I found this really lends well to the artwork. Only 100 digital prints at this size will be made available.”

Keeley and Brad are members of Brunswick Art Collective. The Brunswick Art Collective was formed several years ago in Keeley and Brad’s cottage featured in two of Keeley’s handmade prints on display.

Keeley says the artworks are about paying homage to the things she loves.

“We sold our cottage in the midst of the lockdown. The exhibition focuses on the process of accepting the need to part with things on an actual physical or more emotional and spiritual level. We felt that Brad’s often nostalgia-capturing photographs especially around place and my work would go well together so we decided on the joint exhibition.”

■ The exhibitions are on display at the Fenton Street Art Collective until February 4.

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