Art by the sea gallery, nz contemporary art gallery, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand|

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The Promenade, 162 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
Ph: +64 9 4456665 Cell: +64 021 577078

Brenda Nyhof

brenda nyhof nz artist

Exhibitions: 2005 Moray Gallery, Dunedin 2003 Moray Gallery, Dunedin 1995 Mosgiel Public Library 1994 Arthouse, Dunedin 1993 Grays Gallery, Dunedin
Awards: 2012 and 2013 Merit- Edinburgh Realty Art Awards
Education: 1989 DFA Otago Polytechnic school of Art

I come from a very creative background. I was always drawing ( mainly horses because I really, really wanted one when I was young) I can still remember my excitement when Mum let me paint some grass on her oil painting ..Something I suppose, about the permanence of it –a real painting, to hang on a wall! Art was something that even then I knew would be an essential part of my life.

I went to Art School straight from High School, completely unprepared, as you are in your teens, not knowing what I was about, or the world, or really anything! I picked up some good stuff, some not so good, and pretty much just chugged through it. What I did pick up was a way of thinking about art, along with some technical skills, a good base from which to build my own ideas around.
My life very much feeds into my art as my art feeds into my life. Making art can be a solitary activity and for me, the interaction with people is essential for a healthy balance. I find people fascinating, the way people think, and all the different ways to live a life. Being a parent has been one of the biggest growth experiences of my life, leading me to question a lot of my beliefs and has led to a greater understanding of myself.

The how and why of my art-making is very much part of my life and inseparable from my personal growth and understanding of life. My art is more about the inner landscape of the mind and imagination. I was always drawn to fairy tales when I was young and loved imagining the pictures to go with them. I am still drawn to stories, and my paintings are stories of a kind, using the language of art, colour, line and form instead of words. I suppose they’re fairy tales for grown-ups, sometimes serious, sometimes sheer fun, and sometimes make no sense at all. Often the stories are half-formed, shadowy hints of a feeling or moment.

A successful artwork to me, is a work in which the viewer catches a glimpse of something beyond words, some recognition of an emotion or idea or a memory.
I love the physical act of painting, creating something new. I’ve spent a lot of time with watercolour, acrylic, pastels, pencil and mixed media and am currently working with water mixable oil which I’m really enjoying. It’s got almost the richness I love with oil, but no fumes and easy clean-up. I love the medium and the colour, it’s a wonderful feeling layering a sunset orange over a vivid turquoise blue, stepping back and seeing it jump out at you, or pulling a shape out of a deep purple background.

brenda nyhof nz emerging artist   brenda nyhof nz emerging artist brenda nyhof nz emerging artist

Oil on canvas 38cm by 38cm $600

The idea behind ‘Crocky’ is when the familiar and comforting becomes unfamiliar and frightening. The scariest dreams are when the safe and familiar change, that change in your expectations is somehow worse than something we know or expect to be scary. Crocky was my daughters soft toy, he was soft, adorable, had a cute little crocodile smile. She dreamed one night that he turned bad and was trying to bite her. Poor Crocky was banished to the dark depths of our wardrobe and I don’t think she ever looked at him again.

  Topsy Turvy
Oil on canvas 38cm by 38cm $600

Bit of fun here, just an oddball painting to make up a story around. I called it topsy-turvy because it spent half of its time upside down before I finally decided on which way up it was going to be, and it ended up showing in the finished work.

Don't listen to the blue fairy
Oil on canvas 46cm by 46cm $800

First things first- it’s not about drugs this little stressed-out figure is having a little problem. The blue fairy? He just happened to have a little blue shape by his ear (if he had ears), so it seemed like a good idea to make the blue fairy the little voice. That little voice that says in your ear ‘yeah go-on–do it-no one will know- go on – it doesn’t really matter. The little things always matter. That little voice can cause a lot of stress and get us into a lot of trouble. Sometimes things can get really crazy and you’re not quite sure how you ended up in a situation, but it was that little voice all along

brenda nyhof emerging nz artist   brenda nyhof nz emerging artist

Strange Place
Oil on canvas 76cm by 76cm $1600

An odd collection of bits here, a strange but fun painting. One of those paintings that cry out to you “Stop right there! Don’t tidy up anything or put another brushstroke on!”The winged creature in the centre is a softer, friendlier version of one of the creature I imagined in Stephen Kings story “The Fog” when a fog rolled in carrying strange prehistoric creatures with it. My version however, won’t liquefy your flesh and suck it from your bones; it’ll just buzz around happily. (Although the dog-type creature beneath it does look a bit like it’s melting…) Love the orange clouds in this they really float and have a life of their own.

Invisible Oil on canvas 76cm by 76cm $1600

This painting was built up around the main figure, the loneliness we can all feel at times, the feeling the world is rushing around us, through us as if we were not here at all. This feeling of disturbance was enhanced with a turbulent sky and an almost end-of the world feeling. Loved painting the sky, rich red over painted with blues shifting into vivid oranges. It’s not a painting of hopelessness though, more of a temporary state. There is a sort of confidence in the figure too.

brenda nyhof emerging artist
  brenda nyhof nz emerging artist

Run Oil on canvas 46cm by 46cm $800

Running away, bit of a fire theme here, certainly some danger of some sort.
Just be careful when you’re looking back and running away because you
can’t see what you might be running into.

Something on my mind
Oil on canvas 46cm by 46cm $800

Walking home in the evening, an amazing sunset, loads of interesting things happening. The figure in this painting doesn’t notice any of it, he’s just trudging home, not at all aware of what’s around him, totally living in his head. OR… just perhaps the beautiful and strange things around him are exactly what is in his head.

brenda nyhof nz emerging artist

Where to now
Oil on Linen 46cm by 46cm $800

Poised at a moment in time, Where to now? I was in the process of painting this when my cousins’ son and a friend blew up his house while huffing gas. Both survived with terrible burns. It was quite disturbing driving past an ordinary Mosgiel house in an ordinary neighbourhood and seeing a huge hole in the tile roof and windows blown out. This painting is about that moment, when things go horribly wrong and you think ‘where do I go, what do I do now? ’Decisions to be made, things to be done. Can I make the right one? Things are still burning; do I stay and put out the fire or walk away?

  brenda nyhof nz emerging artist

The Big Snail Oil on canvas 71cm by 55cm $950

Had fun with this one. Just painting away and all of a sudden – Wow- I’ve got a giant snail! Had to run with it. Popped a giant snake in the sky, some houses with chicken legs, and you’ve got a painting that makes no sense at all but really works in a crazy way. The houses with chicken legs came from a Russian fairy-tale I helped children perform as a shadow show. Buba Yuga the witch lived in a house with chicken legs. Debated painting over the dark figures in the bottom right but decided they needed to be there, they add an almost uncomfortable feeling but seem necessary.
brenda nyhof nz emerging artist
  brenda nyhof nz emerging artist
Beware the Sun
Oil on canvas 50.5cm by 40.5cm $800

This painting started out with an oddball creature with a snout, it just wasn’t working, you can still see a bit of beneath the sun-creature. This was one of those paintings that seem to take forever to pull together. But I’ve ended up with this slightly threatening sun-creature with bird feet. A bit of a take on how we approach the sun now. Once it was celebrated and worshipped, now we shut it out, hide from it, cover ourselves in chemicals so it can’t get at us.
Mad as a Maggot
Oil on canvas 51cm by 41cm $800

Common saying when I was growing up, not sure where it originally came from. Not sure if I’ll ever sell a painting with ‘maggot’ in the title, but couldn’t call it anything else! This painting makes me think of children’s colouring books and coloured crayons. I loved crayons when
I was a child, we had a big tin of various colours. Felt-tip pens were expensive and if you were really lucky you might get a pack of four or six for Christmas, which you treated like gold.

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The Promenade, 162 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
Ph: +64 9 4456665 Cell: +64 021 577078