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Exhibitions | Galleries | Studios | Street Art | Art in Public Places | Ōtautahi Christchurch and Canterbury
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Viv Kepes’ oil on linen paintings in Tribute - Bouquet take their subjects from the memorial flowers and bouquets spontaneously and cumulatively placed outside the entrance to the Botanic Gardens in Rolleston Avenue and at Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue following 15th March 2019.  She maintains that they are, in part, a sensory experience about the colour and beauty of these tributes, and by association, ‘speak of the love, unity, strength, peace and other good intentions that our wider Canterbury community brought to our Christchurch Muslim community through the giving of flowers following the 2019 mosque attacks.’

They are also the outcome of an intention to immerse those who experience them in something of the small and intimate details of the natural world as an encounter with nature and its capacity to hearten and console. She comments: ‘In the whirlwind of our lives, it can be difficult for many of us to find time to pause and notice the incredible sophistication and beauty of our natural world. My work captures brief moments of tiny, fragile, natural beauty.’

There is also an intuitive understanding in Kepes’ painting about the unique qualities of her materials, engaging with oil on linen as a subject in itself, and as a distinct means of representing the experience of an idea and its possible realities.  Her paintings remain accurate to their subjects and the colours are true as to how she perceives them.  However, she intentionally expands and distorts parts or all of the scale, and the forms and structures she observes.  

‘The materiality of the paint is quite a thing for me. I observe and photograph my subject. I freehand draw on my support, indicating the placement of colours, tints and tones of paint. The drawing stage is more abstract than depictive, a simple map to guide me with paint placement. I spend a lot of time mixing generous amounts and varieties of colour from a limited palette of carefully selected paints specific to each work. I apply this paint fairly fast to the support with large brushes, and before the paint dries, I return to gently shift and move some of it about with different types of brushes until the work is complete.’

‘I love science, which is why the details in my work will always be quite accurate before I allow the depth of field to fall away into a dreamlike blur. Viewers sometimes need to adjust their distance from the work in order to focus on the subject.  Up close details can be loose brushstrokes. So, it is often from a little further away that the more complex forms come to life. When I work, I am always moving to and from the support, painting counter intuitively with large brushes and a lot of paint to capture an essence or feeling from my subjects.’ 

‘There is a photographic connection in these works that is empathetic to particularly figurative narratives, but at times paint disrupts and confuses the strength of this relationship. I think of my work as somewhat open-ended, semi-abstract still life paintings. If the viewer knows the subject, their preconceived notion of it will complete what they are seeing. If they do not, then I love that the forms and colours of the subject are free to become anything they imagine them to be.’


Viv Kepes, Tribute -  Bouquet


192 Bealey Avenue

23 February – 19 March



  1. Viv Kepes,  together We Stand Strong, 2020, oil on linen
  2. Viv Kepes, Together We Stand Stronger, 2020, oil on linen

Viv Kepes Tribute - Bouquet

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