Breathing life into canvas

Friday August 24, 2018 Written by Published in Local
New Zealand artist Matthew Payne with one of his paintings of the Cook Islands coastline. 18082322 New Zealand artist Matthew Payne with one of his paintings of the Cook Islands coastline. 18082322

Matthew Payne knows exactly how to breathe life into a canvas and his work really does have to be seen to be believed.


His paintings of landscapes and coastlines speak for themselves. They look so realistic that one may easily mistake his artworks for photographs.

The 36-year-old Auckland-based painter is in Rarotonga working on his latest assignment, translating some of the amazing coastlines and landscapes from around the island onto canvas.

Payne will be presenting his work in a solo exhibition starting on September 3 at the Bergman Gallery. The exhibition will run until October 6.

“Looking at the natural beauty and capturing it into the canvas is pretty much the theme. I pretty much just explore the coastline, explore the colours and try and capture the moments,” said Payne.

“Basically I’m trying to capture the beauty of the place from an outside perspective I suppose, and hopefully it translates into something pretty cool for the people here.”

Payne’s work is quickly gaining a following in the New Zealand art world. He has done about a dozen shows, which also includes eight solo events.

According to the Bergman Gallery, much of Payne’s work is inspired by a love of New Zealand’s landscapes and coastlines, which is reflected in his dramatic compositions which are depicted with vivid colour and extraordinary attention to detail.

“He has a fascination with the relationship between colour, light and form and how these are perceived by the eye. Matthew approaches these elements as if working with a code, aiming always to capture the essence of whatever it is he is painting, whether that is an emotion, a feeling or a mood,” the gallery stated.

In the upcoming exhibition, which will be his first international show, Payne will be showcasing eight paintings – a series of Cook Islands landscapes.

“It’s probably equivalent to maybe three months of work. I’m just finishing off work here over the last couple of weeks – most of it was done at various places in New Zealand,” he said.

“I think what inspires me is probably the natural beauty of the places I get to go to. I’m pretty lucky. Obviously Rarotonga is pretty special and a pretty amazing place but there are lots of places I get to go in New Zealand which are pretty special as well.

“I feel privileged that I get to do this for living to be honest. Through this, I sort of get to spend my time looking at amazing images and try and capture the feeling of the places into the canvas.”

With a passion for New Zealand’s great outdoors, art and sport, Payne comes from a background of high-level sportsmanship.

He represented New Zealand in water polo at Commonwealth and World Championship level, which he complemented with a degree in Sport and Recreation in earlier years.

Since 2004, Payne has devoted himself to art. After graduating from the Whitecliffe College for Fine Arts, he has been working fulltime as an artist.

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