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Fledgling Artists Exhibit at Art-X

June 22, 2016

Darcy Whyte working on a portrait in his EIT studio

“Emerging artists” in the Rotary Club of Greenmeadows’ Art-X national exhibition and sale, EIT ideaschool students Louis Aldridge and Darcy Whyte explore different approaches to realism in their work.

The second-year Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design students were selected to exhibit in the 35th annual Art-X which will continue to show in the Pan Pac Foyer at Napier’s Municipal Theatre until July 3.

Aldridge adopted pointillism for his two works, a technique developed by post-Impressionist painters Georges Seurat and Paul Signac in the late 19th century. 

“I was interested to know why artists did it and started the process as a journey,” the 22-year-old explains.  “I knew it would take a ridiculous amount of time and work, but even then completing the works took twice as long as I’d imagined.”

Aldridge used fine-tip black ink pens to add value to the works, one of African animals at a waterhole and the other of a horse. 

“It’s quite a meditative process and I thought of many things while I was working through it,” the former St John’s College student from Napier says.  “I’m not 100 percent sure whether I will or won’t do more in this genre but if I do I will spin off some of the ideas I had for evolving the style.”

Whyte had two ready-made portraits selected for the exhibition and was invited to submit another. 

His subject matter for portraits is generally family and friends although he also paints classic cars and is currently working on a series of paintings of musicians.    

Working in oil, he says he focuses most particularly on detailing the eyes of his subjects and then concentrates on skin tone.  Portrait artists he admires, including Rembrandt, the Austrian Gustav Klimt and his protégé Egon Schiele and contemporary Irish artist Colin Davidson, engage viewers in the way in which they paint a subject’s eyes.

“When you talk to someone you look at their eyes,” the 33-year-old points out.

Having lived in Germany for some years, Whyte chose to be close to family in settling in Napier with his partner and child. 

His aim is to make portrait painting his “long-term game”.  Rather than adopting an entirely literal approach to his subject matter, however, he hopes to offer the viewer something different in his art. 

Whyte feels he has learnt a great deal in his 1½ years of degree study and is keen to continue developing his practice at ideaschool.