Fire, water, land and sky

Elliot Mason at work in his studio. Photo: John Borren.

Elliot Mason’s world has been one rich with an artistic heritage, and combined with living in the Bay of Plenty, it’s fascinating to see how his artwork absorbs and then reflects the natural world around him.

The public have an opportunity to see recent works from Elliot with a solo exhibition beginning this week at The Incubator in 17th Ave.

Viewing Mauao and other landscapes through his eyes, you are struck with the flow of life he’s captured in the air and rock and land formations, as he weaves the geometric shapes and organic patterns through blended colour palettes and gradients.

“Textile and fabric patterns have been an influence on the way I work,” says Elliot. “I’ve always loved patterns that have optical value, drawing your eye from one place to another.”

His interest in creating movement gives his paintings unique energy and flow. Hidden away with the herons, eels and seascapes, the viewer is drawn into a deeper look below the surface, with motifs taken from the environment – foliage, water, feathers and clouds lending themselves to stylisation.

“Here in New Zealand a lot of our native flora can be easily drawn on. I put it into a pattern that has a nice movement in it, but also communicates the environment.”

Born in Tauranga, Elliot has a Bachelor of Media Arts, University of Waikato and was the founder and director of Zeus Gallery from 2013-2018. His work has a graphic element that he attributes to the split major of graphic design and painting he did at university.

“My key inspiration is nature,” says Elliot. “And I have had other influences – artists that I know, artists whose work I have grown up with and responded to.”

He names Peter Cramond, Elizabeth Grainger Kyle, Arthur Dagley, Simon Madgwick, Graham Crow, Dave Roy and Alphonse Mucha amongst his key influences.

Being a grandson of George Harrison, who founded Harrisons Gallery, carries a legacy that continues to be a gift to Tauranga.

“Having my grandparents running an art gallery exposed me to a lot of painting in particular. That influenced me at an early stage and to a large extent I still am from certain works and artists.”

Elliot has recently completed paintings, wood carvings and works created from last year in his exhibition.

“Also some reproductions and some older works printed.”

Elliot’s solo exhibition ‘Fire, Water, Land and Sky’ opens at The Incubator Creative Hub at 5.30pm on Friday, June 5 and runs to June 27.

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