The Hive welcomes back Jo Reitze, whose previous Exhibition of a series of gouache paintings of Cloudehill Garden in the Dandenongs, was literally a “Garden Delight” . This time we embrace her bolder works in oils of the lush dappled garden that encloses her own home. In a joint Exhibition “Surrounds’, we pair these works with delicate gouache paintings of intimate interiors from Alexandra Lewisohn, her “Lamp series” and create a room with a view to the greenery, the ultimate home of beauty both “inside and out”.

Beginning on May 5th and running until the 28th you can meet the artists at the official Opening on Saturday May 6th 2-4pm.

Beside her previous….awards, Jo has recently been a finalist in the Geelong Contemporary Art Prize 2021 and is a recipient of the A.M.E. Bale Prize. Alexandra has had a quieter period in her artistic career and yet rewards us with a select seven truly stunning paintings, some of her career best works.

From Jo “My ‘SURROUNDS’ are our Surrey Hills’ garden.  All these paintings at The Hive, have been completed outside, in this location. As a keen gardener, this special place has provided both solace and inspiration for forty years. My expressive paintings are more than a visual record, they are a celebration of nature’s beauty and the restorative qualities of gardens.

I have freely executed these joyous oil paintings with lyrical, almost calligraphic mark-making. Their vibrant colours are enhanced by strong tonal contrasts. As in nature, green hues create unity. They capture the essence of this wilderness with its lush vegetation and luxuriant character. Viewed mostly from close vantage-points, plants are clearly identifiable. They enclose the viewer in a beautiful environment yet with their open compositions suggest that more is beyond. Seasonal changes are evident particularly in the two series where, like Monet, I have painted the same spots throughout the year.”

From Alexandra, “This exhibition in some ways reflects the plurality of life during lockdown, desperately wanting the space and clean air and access to flowers from the garden in Daylesford, yet working calmly in a tiny studio in town and buying flowers at the market instead. Other people also kindly offered me their flowers and flowers were also picked and brought to town from Daylesford. However, I am lucky. I swapped one small cottage for another, listened to music, and produced some of the best detail I have ever been capable of.

My preferred painting medium is gouache on board, canvas or paper, as it allows scope for this fine detail and a soft delicate finish.

My still lives almost always feature flowers and decorative objects from in and around home. Gardening and growing flowers to pick and paint has been a constant avenue for creative expression. I find myself gardening in Melbourne in a different way (and on a smaller scale) but still thinking about form, colour, texture and fragrance. As well as gathering flowers, I also collect objects to paint. As you will notice, each painting in this series features a lamp. Each lamp was a reward for finishing a painting and a welcome addition to my small collection of objects, furniture and art.”