Mark Wooller is an artist with a great empathy for the New Zealand native bush, flora and fauna who lives in an idyllic rural bush setting North of Auckland. Wooller also studies the history associated with various aspects of New Zealand landscape and he collects and refers to a multitude of ephemera, documentation and other historical records which relate directly or indirectly to the subject. In his most recent series Wooller has referenced items such as surveyors maps, land transfer documents, stamps used as currency for stamp duty, early tobacco tins and even a wooden and brass ruler discovered plumbed in to a wall in his 1930’s Bungalow.
Don Abbott, Deputy Editor of Art New Zealand magazine wrote in “Bush Fantasy” (Art NZ#125), “….. Wooller displays a real empathy with New Zealand’s colonial artists. This is not limited to subject matter, and extends to the intent of the painting, that sense of wonder, of promise and optimism that characterises the early artists. Just as the colonials recorded the new world in which they found themselves, and then embellished it, participating in the selling of NZ as a an optimal destination for British immigrants, Wooller embellishes the known geography, providing fruit for a collective fantasy, painting what might have been, but now could never be”.
One of the standout features of a successful artist is also the ability to establish a unique and original style. Technical ability is not only a must, but a given in respect of Wooller’s productions and his capacity to master conspicuous works almost without fail is quite remarkable. While his compositions are presented in a semi surrealist manner the detailed bush landscapes engage readily with his audience being both topical and thought provoking. A recent series “Big Garden” refers subtly to the loss of our native bush, waterfalls, creeks, flower gardens and classic bungalows and villas – things we have long taken for granted. Mark Wooller’s last exhibition of paintings related to major changes forthcoming in relation to the relaxation of heritage protection surrounding many old Auckland suburbs and the classic houses and gardens within these environs. The potential loss of formally protected classic houses, architecture and their gardens is of great concern to this passionate artist.
Paintings included in the Artfair include artworks referring to the gulf islands, mountains, waterfalls and other features of our gulf island sea and landscape. There are also paintings celebrating and highlighting the Gardens and bushscape that remain in Auckland such as Albert Park and surrounding gardens.
Wooller’s painting is vitally relevant at a time when major changes in both urban and suburban developments are being promoted to an unprecedented degree. Wooller’s paintings are more than a breath of fresh NZ air, which not only demand attention, but stimulate contemplation.