Exihibition-Like Father

 Waiheke Community Gallery January 2010
 Reviewed by Benn Barthgate, Waiheke Weekender
Waiheke Odessesey

Inspired by Homer’s Odessesy

The show at the Gallery includes a series of axe heads and two bows, inspired partly by Homer’s Odyssey, and partly by family.  The  Odyssey concerns the 10 year journey of Odysseus to his home of Ithaca after the Trojan War.  He returns home to find that, presuming him dead, suitors have besieged his wife Penelope.  To delay having to chose a new husband she sets a challenge – she will marry the man who can string Odysseus’ bow and shoot an arrow through the holes in a row of axe heads.

Oliver’s work succeeds magnificiently in bringing this legend to life, transported from the dusty pages of antiquity for us to behold the true scale of the test facing Penelope’s would-be suitors.

For Oliver the two bows that form part of the work, one large and one small, also represent father and son, a link to family crest symbols, and the axe theme ties in to his mother who gave him a gift of an axe, a treasured possession that accompanied him on his travels estabilishing bronze forges in Europe, the UK and Israel.

Other striking exhibits in the exhibition have been clearly inspired by sights closer to home, while also paying homeage to legends like the story of King Arthur.


‘Reach for the Sky’

shows a hand emerging from the swirling waves holding the Skytower, a piece that brings to mind the sword Excallibur in the hands of the Lady of the Lake.In a similar vein ‘See Sea’ shows a hand, again emerging from what looks like water, though this time a mountainous range of waves, telescope in hand.

Our closeness to the sea is reflected across a number of the works on show.

‘Mariner’ shows a haunted-looking figure in a broken row boat, oars in hand, and ‘Bean Rock’, shows the familiar Bean Rock Lighthouse sat amongst swirling waves of wood.



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