10th Jun 2019 10:00 AM:
Perth born Nannette [Nan] Penhey has been drawing and painting all of her life, primarily an oil painter, she also works on paper with water colour and pencils.
As a young girl she studied art at the Perth Technical School and later, in 1946, Nan moved to Sydney. She married Allan Penhey ten years later after a whirlwind romance which saw her move over the ditch to New Zealand.
Allan assured her Feilding wasn’t at all like an Australian outback town, it had a taxi, a sewage system and shops, though, admittedly, few with neon lights.
While raising their 3 children and helping in the family business Nan always found time to paint and as their children grew older there was more time to devote to her artwork.
In the early 70’s Nan attended day classes at Cassia Birch tutored by John Bevan Ford and Eva Rawnsley, (and one memorable class with a guest tutor, Toss Woollaston).
The female form has been at the heart of Nans work, “there is so much beauty in the human form” she says and she was inspired by Matisse and his Cut Outs and Picasso’s cubist nudes shown in the pages of her Readers Digest art books. Their influence is apparent in her abstracted works.
Nan shared her passion by tutoring classes at the Community Learning Centre for many years and passed on her love of art to her childre. Her daughter Sue James says , “I remember while growing up, rarely did my Mother see a vista on a road trip and not point out the beauty, we would mutter and pretend not to see,” said Sue.
Sue studied at Quay School of Art, graduating with a Bachelor of fine arts in 2015. She has exhibited work at Whanganui’s Sargent Gallery Review, If It Weren’t for my Children. Edith Gallery, Is This All, Snails Artist Gallery, Honour the Peacemaker and Space Studio and Gallery Whanganui, Is This All.
Is This All reflects that part of my mother’s life... the misogynist times, the isolation and loneliness of living in small town New Zealand in the 50’s as an outsider. The work is made of etched aluminium blinds, the blinds symbolising Nan’s confinement to her home with her young children.
Etched into the aluminium are collaged snippets from her personal letters sent home to her mother, sharing with her those difficulties and her loneliness.