The magnetic Island scenery and atmosphere of Rarotonga is well regarded. Sunny beaches, protected blue lagoons and waving coconut trees, it is the idyllic South Sea paradise that has captured 44 years of modern tourism and 200 years of European exploration. It is perhaps little surprise that it would enchant a young New Zealand landscape artist.
Matthew Payne is a self-described water baby. Growing up on Auckland’s North Shore, he was surrounded by beaches. He is also a former national representative Water Polo player, competing at World Championship and Commonwealth levels. A graduate of Whitecliffe College of Fine Arts, it was evident from his first year of study that Payne’s love of water would translate to canvas. It is his passion and where he feels comfortable.
While Payne draws some influence from landscape artists Tony Ogle and Dick Frizzell, Payne relinquishes the role of observer and becomes an active participant in his composition. His intent is not just to capture the perfect moment, but to transport the viewer into the very place he stands, usually in water, to fully experience what he feels. His style is a contemporary blend, fusing elements of realism, impressionism and romanticism. In his paintings, dramatic evening and mid-afternoon light play over lagoons and beaches, veritable postcard imagery encapsulating the complete Island fantasy environment.
For his Rarotongan series of works, Payne has also taken influence from the infinite horizon afforded by his environment. Unencumbered by large bays or headlands, the horizon is only interrupted by Rarotonga’s protective reef, a faint line in the distance, defined by surging waves. Matthew Payne was invited to show with Bergman Gallery in 2018. This is his first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Matthew Payne b.1982, Auckland.
- 2019: Parnell Gallery – Blue Skies, 20 August – 3 September 2019.
- 2018: Parnell Gallery – Salt and Light with Sara Langdon, 10-24 April; Bergman Gallery – Infinite Horizon, 3 September – 6 October; Gallery 33 – Joint exhibition with Claire Beynon, 6-20 October.
- 2017: Parnell Gallery – From Coast to Peak, 15-29 August.
- 2016: Parnell Gallery – Light, 8–22 March.
- 2015: Parnell Gallery – Anticipation, 24 March–7 April; Art Matakana – Coast to Coast with Helena Blair, Megan Daniels, Sonia Fraser, Matt Payne, Donna Massey, Jill Perrott, 6–24 December
- 2014: Parnell Gallery – Solo exhibition.
- 2013 : Parnell Gallery – Land & Sea 12–26 March.
- 2012: Art Matakana – Solo exhibition.
- 2011: Depot Gallery – Solo exhibition; NZ Art Show, 29–31 July.
- 2010: Verde – solo show; NZ Art Show – group show, 30 July–1 August.