Arcadian Crumpet

Laura Williams
Oct 5 to Nov 4
The Mangrove Swamp.

Opening: 6.30m Thursday 5th October

Exhibition: 5th – 31st October


Taking inspiration from the Kinks 1968 album, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, the paintings curated for Arcadian Crumpet are a variety of scenes taking place in bucolic communal spaces where nature, not man, is the dominant protagonist.

Undertaken in her signature vibrant naïve art style, Arcadian Crumpet sees Williams continue her exploration of small worlds contained within the compounds of still life and Garden of Eden like tableaux. Arcadian Crumpet aims to draw the viewer into brightly coloured Utopian realms where nature is dominant, landscapes are densely flowered and people are interspersed with disparately sized flora and fauna. Kaleidoscopic landscapes and still life compositions portray a simpler life: collective socialising free of modern contrivances with no shame or modesty having snaked its way into the human consciousness. Candidly nude and innocently aroused players who are juxtaposed with those who are wistful and rejected.

The concurrent theme which connects these psychedelic pastoral paradises is a lack of guile in their expressed emotions: Love, liberty, acceptance, yearning, desire, inhibition, adoration and rejection cannot be understood without reference to the counter emotion.

‘The Mangrove Swamp’ is painted in response to seeing nature reclaiming its identity from being a dumping ground for mid-century Auckland along the Westmere coastal walkway. In a reversal to virgin wilderness before human settlement the vegetation and wildlife is taking back and growing over the disrespect once shown it by inhabitants. Suburban dwellers are seen despondently becoming out of place as those whose ‘home it always was to thrive and play. ‘Unrequited’ and Persona non Grata’ examine love not returned and make reference to the Dutch Golden Age with their tumbling flowers. ‘By the Waters of Babylon’ and ‘Dawns Crack’ both showpiece gleefully disinhibited single gender gatherings in psychotropical landscaped village greens and pond.

Arcadian Crumpet marks Laura fourth exhibition at Black Asterisk. Since Williams’s very first exhibition of her paintings in 2013 at the Kreisler Gallery in Melbourne she has also had other showings of her work at Lesley Kreisler Gallery New Plymouth and the Artists Room in Dunedin. Several of her pieces are now in both the Wallace Arts Trust collection and noted private collections. Laura is now solely represented by Black Asterisk in New Zealand.