gail de jong
Gail de Jong graduated from the Otago School of Art in the 1970's with a Diploma in Fine and Applied Arts. She immediately began teaching Art in Secondary Schools, before marrying and raising three daughters with her husband, Chris.
Returning to teaching in the 80's, Gail was Head of Art and Art History at Kavanagh College, in Dunedin until 2004, when she was awarded a Teachers Scholarship, enabling her to spend a year completing a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting and Art Theory.
Her passion for Painting became a life changing event and although she continued to teach part time for a few years, the desire to become a professional artist took over.
In 2010, Gail and her husband made the decision to come and live in Central Otago, to be in the landscape she loves, and which inspires her work. A farmhouse beyond Bannockburn, on the fringe of the Nevis Valley, is her home and studio.
She is an award winning artist whose paintings are held in private and public collections in New Zealand, as well as in seven different countries worldwide. Gail became a member of Hullabaloo Artspace in 2010.
She had her first major solo show in a public gallery in 2013 when she was invited to exhibit at the Eastern Southland Gallery, in Gore.
' The challenge in painting the landscapes of Central Otago, has been to find, through using inventive contemporary techniques, and traditional oil painting processes, a way of expressing the essence of this place. Multi layered surfaces, built up with oil paint on canvas, or aged metal surfaces, seek to describe the geological structure of the land. These investigations are almost archeological, and the surfaces of the paintings appear to move through layers of culture and history, to allow multiple readings to evolve.
The events of ancient histories and weather events, as well as the activities of goldmining in the 19th century, around the Nevis Valley, the Carrick Range and Bannockburn, provide a rich geomorphology from which to create works. Living in this place, and walking the land daily, allows for a geography of the imagination to flourish and for visual stories to emerge. Thus poetry and myth take precedence over perceived reality, and deeply felt images of a unique world emerge.'