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From Central Otago

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Gail de Jong

Bannockburn

Art has always been the focus of my working life. After attending Art School in Dunedin and gaining a Diploma in Fine Art, I began teaching at Timaru Girls High School. I subsequently married and had three children, and continued to Paint as well as teaching Drawing and Painting from my home in Dunedin.
When my children were of school age I began teaching Art and Art History firstly at Queens High School and later at Kavanagh College, where I was Head of the Art Department for 15 years.
In 2004 after being awarded a Scholarship I chose to return to Art School and completed a Bachelor of Art in Painting and Art Theory. Since then I continued Painting from my Dunedin studio , whilst continuing to teach Painting and Art History part time.
In 2010 I came to live in Central Otago with my husband Chris. We live on a small farm in a valley beyond Bannockburn amongst the hills I love, where I have set up a studio.
ARTIST STATEMENT
The landforms of Central Otago, its geomorphology, cultural geography and history inspire my work.
Manipulation of water has created the landscape featured in many of my paintings about Bannockburn, where excavation has scarred the land forming exposed valleys and sluiced cliff faces, sludge channels, stacked rocks,discarded huts and tracks- all shaped by the toil of miners and the promise of finding gold. The ancient history of Central Otago permeates the land and traces of geological characteristics unique to this area, the sense of time past, are an important part of my imagery.
Through all of these landforms I create a geography of the imagination, where poetry takes precedence over reality and myth is imagined and evolves.
This history is part of the scenery and it is a story of abandoned journeys which I am exploring here.
A magical and mysterious world emanateS from a literal landscape perceived through drawing and painting - a place of dreams.

Location