GAIL DE JONG
PAINTING AND MIXED MEDIA
Gail de Jong is a contemporary landscape painter who has worked as a professional artist in Central Otago since 2010, living in the foothills of the Nevis Valley. A Southerner, growing up tramping the hills, swimming in the lakes and rivers, Gail has bonded with the rugged landscapes of Otago.
Gail’s former teaching career, as Head of Art at Kavanagh College in Dunedin, underpins her work with a sound knowledge of the processes, history and theory of art practice. Both traditional and contemporary techniques are used to produce distinctive paintings which reflect the essence of her place, the Nevis Valley, the Carrick Range, the Old Man and Old Woman Ranges and Bannockburn.
For Gail, painting is a transformative and qualitative process. Each painting takes months and sometimes years to complete. Multi layered surfaces of oil paint on canvas, create imagery which not only describes the elemental geological structure of the land, but is also ambiguous, spiritual and evocative. The surfaces of the paintings appear to move through layers of culture and mythology, allowing multiple readings to evolve. Poetry, literature, local knowledge and ancient histories are intrinsic content of her works, adding layers of context, thus weaving stories into the complex surfaces.
Using found objects such as aged drum lids, feathers and dried animal corpses found when walking the hills, add to her repertoire, which includes inventive experimental Printmaking and multimedia works. Gail presented workshops in Painting in the Bannockburn Festival of Arts in 2022. Gail has had numerous solo exhibitions at Hullabaloo Artspace and also a solo exhibition at Eastern Southland Gallery in Gore. She has been invited to exhibit in ten group shows of selected artists and been a finalist in significant competitions including the Walker and Hall, and was a prize winner in the I.L.T. Awards. She won the Outstanding Central Otago Artist Award in Arts Gold Awards in 2017.
Her works are part of public collections in New Zealand and numerous private collections, nationally and internationally. American collectors include Raymond Garcia, Chairperson of the Trusties of Washington State Art Gallery.
Qualifications: Dip. F.A.A. (1971), B.F.A. (2004) Otago School of Art