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Large exhibition for Small

Masterton secondary school art teacher Kate Small has been selected to showcase her work at Dowse Art Museum’s new exhibition.

‘Strange Friends’ will feature over 100 artworks by artists including Alan Ibell, Andrew McLeod, Hannah Ireland, James Ormsby, John Ward Knox, Lorene Taurerewa, Nephi Tupaea, Sam Mitchell and Ursula Bradley.

A graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts, Small has previously had her artwork included in exhibitions at the City Gallery, Wellington Te Whare Toi, Dowse Art Museum, and Aratoi.

Having held five solo exhibitions at the Anna Miles Gallery in Auckland since 2005, Small’s works are also held in private and public collections in New Zealand and overseas, including by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Real Art RoadShow Trust, Wellington City Council, Auckland District Health Board and Westpac Bank.

Gallery director Anna Miles said Small’s oil paintings for ‘Strange Friends’ have “patiently developed an imaginative territory that evades easy definition”.

“The social, or perhaps not so social, life Small traces relates to the experience of women in settings that lurch ambiguously between the institutional and the domestic. The fact the artist is ‘still at school’ [she has been a secondary school teacher for many years], as well as her identification with the awkwardness of adolescence, contributes to these paintings,” Miles said.

Small – who spent 18 months on her work for the upcoming exhibition – told the Times-Age her favourite medium to work with is oil because it’s richer in colour and slow drying – therefore it’s easy to have “all those ghost paintings underneath that you scrape off the top”.

“I’m doing two things at once. I’m all about painting and perfecting the technical aspect, as in colour and application,” Small said.

“It’s about the translucency of those colours coming through. I couldn’t achieve that in acrylic.”.

Small can be found teaching art at Chanel College if she’s not in her home art studio.

With 26 years of teaching under her belt, Small said she has always seen art as an academic subject and a form of therapy for her students.

    Small’s work will be on show at the Dowse Art Museum– as a part of the Strange Friends exhibition – from September 9 to January 28, 2024. To see Small’s work online, visit annamilesgallery.com/artists/kate-small.

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