S T R I D I N G F O R T H
E X H I B I T I O N
2ND - 29TH NOVEMBER 2019
Striding Forth : Daphne Mason at Ninety One
This show is, like its subject, a little out of the ordinary. It is a modest celebration of the energy and vision that keep Daphne Mason striding forth as an artist in her nineties.
So on this occasion, rather than present the latest series from the artist’s studio, we are opening up for sale a small selection of her most recent notebook and watercolour sketches, along with eleven small, but more “finished”, works from the past 40 years (all of which are notfor sale at this time). These eleven ‘context’ pieces are mostly individual works, rather than part of a series, but provide thematic context for the paper works in the show - figurative, abstract, impressionistic and landscape / built environment.
The aim is to give a sense of the observational wit and insight that animate all of Daphne’s work, as well as the sheer, hard-won excellence of her skills as draughtsman and colourist and which underpin her apparent ease as a well-rounded painter.
In one sense this show is the opposite of a retrospective; although the context pieces look back over the last 40 of the 60 years Daphne has been a full-time professional artist, most of the paper works (with the exception of three “landscape nude” watercolour sketches from 2009) have been produced in the last 18 months, and at least ten of them between August and October of this year. As she started producing the studies of vases and jars in August, she commented to her daughter-in-law that she had just learnt something new and exciting in the process.
Which brings us to the point: even allowing for the mass of recent studio works still to be documented and shown, this story isn’t over yet. Like the subject of her painting, Daphne keeps striding forth.
Daphne Mason was born in Fielding in 1928, of parents who had migrated from Scotland after the Great War.
Always painting and drawing from an early age, she studied at night classes at the old Elam School of Fine Arts building in Auckland, while working as a public typist from her mid teens onwards. These night classes comprised studies from the antique - drawing plaster casts of Greek and Roman statuary; clay modelling; and, eventually, life classes. (She notes that the life classes she joined much later on, in Cambridge and London, were rather more inspirational!). In that early period, she also studied portraiture, inter alia, under Lois White at the Auckland Society of Arts (they became good friends: Daphne was taking Lois out for a picnic or drive most weeks until her death in 1984).
It was only in her early thirties that Daphne was at last able to devote herself to her art full-time, which she did from a series of studios in Remuera and Parnell, and more latterly Cambridge, London and Plymouth. She has exhibited widely in NZ and in the UK (London and MoMA Wales); her works are held in numerous private collections around the world. On the death of her husband (who makes a brief appearance on the verso of the female study in sepia), she returned to the farm block she owns near Wainui, where she continues to live a largely independent existence, despite the challenges of an aging body, surrounded by her birds and pursuing her artistic vision.
See also the three short videos produced by her granddaughter, Claire Mason, in 2018, which you can find at...
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The Compositions Series, around 60 works from 2013-present, some of which you can see on the gallery video
Here is the Link... https://mailchi.mp/4f413407bd69/daphne