All change at the Ivy Box Art Gallery 

It’s a changing of the guard at the iconic Ivy Box art gallery on Queenstown’s lakefront. 

After a year at the helm, award-winning designer and former gallery manager Sian Gillanders is leaving for new adventures. Long-time local and talented graphic designer Gemma McCabe has stepped in to help gallery visitors find new and exciting contemporary art. 

Starting in early February, Gemma says she’s looking forward to welcoming visitors into the unique space and helping people find art that’s their “match made in heaven”. 

“I am so excited to be in the gallery,” says Gemma, “I feel that all of our artists bring something different to the gallery, although the collection is cohesive in its storytelling style. 

“We’ve got a range of mediums: paintings, sculptures, jewellery – but they all work so well together, and, for me, there’s a nod to Aotearoa’s striking landscapes and cultural heritage in them. Particularly Lake Whakatipu and its different moods, shapes and colours.” 

New art at the gallery

New artworks by Queenstown artists Lynda Hensman and Rachel Harper-Dibley particularly follow this theme with contemporary paintings that are dark and moody in deep blues and greys. 

“There’s a tonal palette in this collection of pieces, and I’d say they’re ‘moody’, but they’re also tranquil – they’re peaceful to look at,” explains Gemma. 

The gallery also has a new artist, Barbara McAteer, who creates abstract paintings imbued with a strong sense of movement, structure and depth. Light and bright in colour, the artworks again invoke a sense of movement with the application of the brushstrokes. 

“I’ve not been here long, but I’m already enjoying meeting people in the gallery and seeing how taken aback they are when they come through the doors. 

“I think many people instantly relate to what they’re seeing. The artworks all connect with this place, and people see and feel that right away – it’s wonderful watching people go away inspired or taking a piece home with them to enjoy forever.”

Street art charity auction

This King’s Birthday weekend, the Ivy Box art gallery will play host to a vibrant art auction.

Art. Music. Pizza. And all for a good cause! What could be better?

From 10 am, talented street artist Morepork will create artwork at the Ivy Box gallery. At 5 pm, the finished artworks will be auctioned off by Brendan Quill. The proceeds from the auction will go towards suicide prevention and mental health support charities.

Morepork is a well-known street artist from Christchurch and one of the country’s last freehand tattoo artists. You can bid on any of the art Morepork creates at the Ivy Box over the weekend. Watch the artwork being created, then place your bid.

While you’re here, don’t forget to peruse the pop-up shop featuring fashion and jewellery by Jane Sutherland.

There’ll also be live music throughout the day, and Italian Way will be on site, serving delicious pizzas, snacks and desserts.

A huge thank you to our fellow supporters and sponsors for the weekend, Driftaway Queenstown, Italian Way and Jane Sutherland.

Brightly-coloured abstract art in modern graffiti style by the Christchurch, NZ artist called Morepork

Mandy Cherry Joass now at The Ivy Box 

Mandy Cherry Joass’ artwork is now available to view and buy at The Ivy Box art gallery in Queenstown. 

The Christchurch-based sculptor is known for her bright and bold artworks which draw on traditional techniques and ancestral knowledge to create contemporary art. Mandy is of Ngapuhi, Ngai Takoto and Te Pātū whakapapa. 

She graduated from Ilam in 2015 with a BFA in sculpture and her work has been exhibited across the country. Mandy’s colourful artworks celebrate the survival and the growth of mātauranga Māori. She employs traditional techniques in raranga (weaving) and kowhaiwhai (painting) to create fresh, fun and contemporary artwork. 

The sculptures currently in the gallery are woven from recycled Venetian blinds, instead of the traditional harakeke (flax). The weave reflects the nature of Whakapapa, the integration of people, a coming together of many individuals to create a stronger, richer whole. 

Spring 2022 art by Lynda Hensman

Discover new artwork by Lynda Hensman, artist and founder/director of the Ivy Box art galley.

As always, we encourage people to come and see these artworks ‘in the flesh’ at the art gallery (134 Park Street, Queenstown), where these works are for sale. Enquiries welcome.

Lynda Hensman art at Rakaura Gallery

Lynda Hensman, the Ivy Box Gallery’s founder, is now represented by an independent art gallery in Picton too.

Rakaura Art Gallery is an art gallery in the picturesque town of Waitohi Picton, in Marlborough. Owner and proprietor Ruth de Reus was born and raised in the Chatham Islands and lived in Queenstown for 27 years before moving to Picton.

Ruth and Lynda’s art galleries are connected by a shared appreciation of fine and contemporary art.

“It’s wonderful to be part of another gallery that shares the same passionate dedication to transformative, original art by New Zealand artists,” says Lynda.

“Looking at the calibre of the artists in Ruth’s gallery, I’m honoured and humbled to have my work exhibited at Rakaura Art Gallery too. I’ve already sold artwork to a local buyer and it’s always so lovely to hear from art buyers and see my art reaching new people.”

Raukura Gallery features fine art, metal work, jewellery, glass art, pottery, photography, prints and harakeke weaving.  

“Raukura Gallery is somewhere I’ve always enjoyed visiting when I’m in the Picton area. I resonate with a lot of the art on display there; it has so much depth and it’s a great representation of the many talented artists we have in rural New Zealand.”

Raukura Art Gallery

Summer 2021 Collection

Summer 2021 is here. The sun is shining, the garden is looking glorious, and the Ivy Box Gallery Director and Artist Lynda Hensman has been busy creating new art in her studio this season.

Lynda’s latest artworks feature moody colours, hidden meanings and depth. Sweeping, expressive brush strokes and loose shapes are prominent in this season’s artworks. Natural greys, greens and blue hues are accented with rusty reds and oranges.

Here’s a selection of Lynda Hensman’s Summer 2021 Art Collection. For commissions or enquiries, pop into the gallery or contact Lynda.

Artwork relectsion by Lynda Hensman part of the summer 2021 collection
Reflections is a large-scale artwork part of the Summer 2021 collection, $9,800
Art by Lynda Hensman. Release is a moody grey, black and orange abstract painting part of the Summer 2021 Collection
Release by Lynda Hensman, (SOLD)
Painting of Dove. The Journey by artist Lynda Hensman
Detail from The Journey, available to view at The Ivy Box this summer
Sunset painting. Orange sky and grey mountains. Artwork by Lynda Hensman
Moments in Time (Part 1), $1,800
Sunrise artwork. Moments in Time shows and orange sky and grey mountains.
Moments in Time (Part 2), $1,800
Black Moth painting Layers of Life by Queenstown artist
Layers of Life is another key piece in Lynda Hensman’s summer collection, $1,400

Jane Sutherland: Blending fashion, jewellery and art

Kingston-based artist Jane Sutherland will present her jewellery, fashion and design-inspired art pieces at the Ivy Box art gallery in Queenstown this spring. 

Jane Sutherland established her label in 2004, bringing her background in jewellery-making to the fashion industry. Her work is part metalwork, part fashion and all are art pieces in their own right. 

Her passion for metalwork began as a youngster. Jane’s father is also a jeweller and a teacher. As a child, Jane would go with her dad on trips across the lower South Island to teach jewellery-making workshops. When Jane was older, she worked alongside a master jeweller in a contemporary art gallery in Dunedin. 

Fashion, art and metalwork

“I’ve always been drawn to metal,” explains Jane. 

“When I finished working with the master goldsmith I was at a loose end so I started making metal designs like wee nuts and bolts and attaching them to t-shirts. I liked how they turned out, so I thought: what can I do with these?

“I wasn’t familiar with the fashion industry at the time, but I took the pieces to Nom*d and Plume in Dunedin and Angel Devine in Queenstown. They bought them all off me. 

“After that, I got the bug and I started making more and approaching boutiques across the country.” 

Jane became very involved in New Zealand’s fashion industry, but always felt a strong pull towards metalwork and jewellery. This unusual element of her fashion work has always been a key point of difference and a key trademark. 

Fashion by Jane Sutherland

Back to her metalwork roots 

After many years of successfully designing and selling clothes and accessories, Jane has brought her label back to its roots. Now selling exclusively through her website and the Ivy Box, Jane’s distinctive and moody metalwork is back with force. 

“My fashion is now trans-seasonal, not tied to a season and I’m bringing in more jewellery and fashion accessories to my collections. 

“I like to have a point of difference. My work has an androgynous look. It’s edgy. You can recognise it as being mine and that goes back to the metalwork on most garments.”

Jane works with a range of metals, but recently she’s been drawn to copper. Sourcing both new and recycled materials, she says she’s drawn to its rose gold colour and malleability that lends itself to more creative possibilities. 

“I’m using recycled copper – it’s good to be part of the recycling movement and people seem to enjoy wearing copper as much as gold or silver at the moment. 

“It’s nice and easy to work with and looks like rose gold polished. I like the ageing process of copper and how it tarnishes, but it’s easy to polish up again too.” 

Jane Sutherland at the Ivy Box Spring 2021

Examples of Jane Sutherland’s jewellery, fashion and accessories will be at the Ivy Box this spring. One collection she’s excited about includes metal and leather collars that are “fashion and jewellery combined”. 

“Instead of wearing jewellery, you can put this collar on… it’s fashion and jewellery combined, they’re an accessory. They’re really fun. They’re not just metal, the addition of another material brings in a whole new element.

“I’m very excited [to be at the Ivy Box]! It’s exciting to be beside such amazing artists and I look forward to bringing something new and fresh.”

The culture and history of beading with Hannah Bailly

Beadwork artist Hannah Bailly has created bead jewellery for more than 34 years. 

Originally from Northern California, she began studying the art of Native American beadwork at the age of 18. Since then, Hannah has taken inspiration from beadwork through the ages. She’s explored India, Europe and parts of the Middle East with an artist’s eye.

Today, she’s based in her sunny Beadworkz studio in Dunedin. 

Original bead necklace

Exploring the world of beading

Over her career, Hannah has had many incredible experiences.

“One of my favourite memories is buying gemstones in Jaipur, India. I went to the gem dealers and found the right people down the back alleyways to find the authentic gems. It was amazing.” 

Hannah says another special moment was repairing a 1920s Art Deco necklace for a well-known New Zealand fashion designer. 

“Over time, the necklace had lost some of its beads. Others had broken and some of the weave patterns had disintegrated. She asked if I could repair it and it was difficult because it had the tiniest beads and they’re really hard to find. They couldn’t be found in New Zealand so I had to get them from my supplier in California. 

“Repairing that necklace was special because it brought me more into the New Zealand fashion industry. But it was also a wonderful experience doing the repair. Repairing an ancient piece is rewarding for everyone. It’s rewarding for me because I feel like I’m part of something timeless and it was rewarding for her because she could wear that special piece again.” 

The culture behind bead jewellery

Alongside her beadwork, Hannah teaches Cultural Anthropology at a university. Though the two fields are quite different, anthropology casts a light on the cultural meaning behind beadwork.

“There are many different reasons why people have traditionally done beadwork. But I think in a nutshell, it’s about social status and ritual. In different cultures, like Native American and African cultures, beadwork is worn by people with different statuses. 

“The peyote stitch of Native American beadwork is worn by the shaman during peyote rituals. It’s worn as an emblem that signifies that ritual and it takes them deeper into the spirit realm. That’s one area of social status. It is status combined with mysteries. 

“Some of the African tribes would wear beadwork to signify their standing as royalty. The different pieces that they wore would signify their status. So in a nutshell, it’s a mix of status and ritual.” 

Original bead jewellery

Themes behind Hannah’s beadwork

Hannah says the idea of ritual is carried through her work. 

“When I’m beading, I go into a meditative space. It’s extremely therapeutic in terms of mindfulness. I sit for hours and I just slip into a particular state of mind – that’s a ritual in itself. So producing a piece that comes out of that can be seen as a piece that has engaged in this deep, meditative process. Another, popular way of looking at that is the idea of slow fashion. 

“It’s handmade and has a different energy to something mass-produced.”

Her artwork can be described as ‘otherworldly’ and Hannah takes influences from different ages and cultures. 

“I do a lot of beadwork that could be described as Art Nouveau and Art Deco. I’ve been through a Victorian phase. Some of my work is medieval in appearance, too. When I start using natural materials like the labradorite stones, that takes you into this mysterious zone.” 

Beadwork jewellery in Queenstown

Hannah Bailly will present a wide range of elaborate beadworks that can be worn or enjoyed as an art piece at the Ivy Box. 

“I’m using a lot of natural stones, so I’m going for that ‘mystique’ look. There’s definitely a medieval feel coming through for me in this range too.” 

Hannah first stumbled across the art gallery a few years ago, while visiting the town. 

“I walked in and was just enthralled by Lynda’s artwork. Her work is mysterious and beautiful. So I introduced myself, showed Lynda some images of my artwork and she said: ‘Oh, I want that ring!’. 

“I feel like our artworks are a good match. I feel honoured and excited to be part of the new gallery.” 

Find a range of Hannah Bailly’s eye-catching and intricate beadwork at the Ivy Box gallery from Spring 2021. 

Shadow play: the work of weaver Jasmine Clark

Artist and weaver Jasmine Clark creates sculptures from woven materials. Her work plays with form and shadow, creating striking artworks that are unlike any other. 

Based in Arrowtown, Jasmine’s work will feature in the opening art exhibition at The Ivy Box art gallery. The gallery re-opens in September 2021 after an extensive renovation project.  

“All of my work is created using woven materials,” says Jasmine, “For a long time I was only using recycled copper wire, now I am using rattan (the inside of cane). My hands are starting to feel those harder materials so I’m adapting and exploring other materials.” 

Weaving inspired by nature

Jasmine grew up in Kare Kare on Auckland’s West Coast, where she developed a deep appreciation of nature and natural forms. As a youngster, she was a serious shell collector.

Her introduction to the world of weaving came from her grandmother and mum, who were both rug weavers. 

“Mum used to set me up on a little loom when I was a kid. I went straight to art school from high school and when I was about 18, I did a night class on flax weaving. I was hooked and I’ve been weaving ever since.” 

Jasmine has a Bachelor in three-dimensional design from Unitec Design School (Auckland) and a certificate in visual arts from Nelson Polytechnic. She regularly attends conferences in Australia and New Zealand, teaching and learning more as she goes. 

Though she has moved away from flax weaving, Jasmine still uses natural materials. Her work features materials like bull kelp, willow and rattan, all woven into natural shapes that play with shadow and light. 

“Most of my work is based on natural forms and natural materials. I use found driftwood and recycled wire, rattan… 

“I love playing with shadows and natural forms. Weaving lends itself beautifully to shadow play so I always try to incorporate that.” 

Rattan weave sculpture by Jasmine Clark casts a shadow on a white wall

New Beginnings exhibition

Jasmine says she’s excited to be part of The Ivy Box gallery’s New Beginnings exhibition this spring.  

“I visited the gallery the other day and it’s amazing – so cool and fresh and funky. And you can’t beat that location by the lake…”

From her studio in Arrowtown, Jasmine works on commissions but the exhibition has offered an opportunity to experiment and create something completely different.

“I’m using rattan and experimenting with different ways to dye it. So I’ll probably do that for Lynda’s gallery. 

“I’ll also incorporate driftwood which I have been charring with a blow torch. This is similar to a technique used in Japan for cladding.

“Playtime has become a luxury recently. So that’s the thing I’m most looking forward to. I’ve got some ideas and I’m working on something new for the exhibition. I won’t be repeating something I have already done and I’m excited to share that.”

The Ivy Box’s opening exhibition, New Beginnings, starts 24th September 2021. The exhibition features new work by a multi-disciplinary range of contemporary New Zealand artists. 

Media release: New beginnings for Queenstown art gallery

Queenstown art gallery The Ivy Box is entering a new chapter thanks to an extensive renovation project. 

Housed in the town’s original butcher’s shop on Park Street, the building has been lovingly restored and extended, with the addition of a modern gallery and artists’ residences.

The Ivy Box will re-open to the public on 24th September 2021, with an aptly named ‘New Beginnings’ exhibition. The exhibition will feature the work of The Ivy Box Founder and Director Lynda Hensman as well as work by talented contemporary artists curated by Lynda. 

Ivy Box art gallery sign

“The building no longer served me. It was freezing! It was time to take the building on a new journey, to evolve it into a more modern – and warm – venue for contemporary art,” says Lynda.

“I’m looking forward to not having to wear gloves and a scarf while painting! But more than that, I think the renovation has managed to preserve the essence of the building, whilst giving it a new beginning, a new lease on life. 

“It’s in an incredible location, on the fringe of Queenstown CBD, right on the lakefront and with gorgeous views and I wanted to preserve and enhance that. 

“The haphazard 1970s/80s extension has been demolished to make way for sweeping windows on the upper floor, while the ancient stone walls have been preserved and our famous ivy and Virginia Creeper will be lovingly encouraged to grow back – though not through cracks in the windows and cupboards like it did before the renovation!” 

The gallery originally opened in 2015 and while the building has been transformed, The Ivy Box continues its dedication to authentic New Zealand art. 

Artists at the opening exhibition include Sue Hartly, Jane Sutherland and Odelle Morshuis. The exhibition will also introduce up-and-coming young talent like Hana Coleman. 

“The Ivy Box will still be a venue for authentic art that’s created with passion. The artists on board all have the same passionate dedication to their art – they create from the heart and are ‘outside the square’ in terms of approach and thinking. I’ve hand-picked them for that reason. 

“While the landscape outside is beautiful, you won’t find traditional landscape art inside. The new gallery space will be a home for art that stimulates all the senses – there’s grit, contrast and passion in all of it.” 

Lynda Hensman painting with Monty

For interviews or more information, contact Lynda Hensman.

Photo credit: James Allan Photography

Introducing Artist Hana Coleman

Artist Hana Coleman will exhibit a range of her artworks for the first time in the South Island.

The talented young artist is 19 years old. The Ivy Box’s ‘New Beginnings’ exhibition will be her first major art exhibition.

“This is my first, big, fancy exhibition, so that’s really exciting for me!” She says. 

“For the exhibition, I am exploring the theme of self-care and self-identification. It’s basically about a Maori person trying to discover things about themselves and their ancestry. How the language is lost and how many Maori people don’t know anything about their whakapapa and their tipuna (ancestors). 

“It’s about how there’s a lot of shame and confusion around learning the language. Especially when, as a Maori person, you’re expected to know the language.” 

About Artist Hana Coleman

Hana Coleman

Hana lives in Kūaotunu (Coromandel Peninsula) and met Ivy Box founder and curator Lynda Hensman while working at a local café with Lynda’s daughter. She’s never been to Queenstown before and says she’s excited to see the gallery for the first time at the New Beginnings exhibition opening (Spring 2021). 

Art has always been Hana’s passion: “I’ve always, always, always made art. I still have drawings of fairy people and stuff that I used to draw as a young kid,” she laughs. 

“Right now, I’m only painting in acrylics. My art is very Maori-focussed and I enjoy making art that’s focused on Maori issues and problems happening in Aotearoa and the wider Maori community. 

“I like acrylics, it’s easy and efficient and I don’t have to wait for it to dry. I don’t have to take long breaks in between painting. But then… I don’t like it because it dries so fast and I like my art to be blended. It’s hard when you’re painting skin and you need to blend that in and it’s already dry!” 

See examples of Hana’s art on Instagram (@HanaKowhaiArt), or see her and her art at the New Beginnings exhibition, at the Ivy Box (134 Park Street, Queenstown)

Sculpture by Otago artist Odelle Morshuis

Sculpture by Central Otago artist Odelle Morshuis will feature at the Ivy Box gallery this Spring 2021. 

Based in Bannockburn, Odelle has exhibited her paintings and sculptures around the world. 

“I’ve always been a bit of a quiet kid, just doing my own thing. Drawing and painting was something I enjoyed as a kid, so it was natural to do that in high school, then continue afterwards,” explains Odelle. 

About artist Odelle Morshuis

Odelle Morshuis sculptor and artist

When she was 18 years old, Odelle Morshuis held her first art exhibition in a café in Dunedin, but she says she wouldn’t have called herself a professional artist at that point; 

“It wasn’t until I went overseas when I started to take things seriously. I got myself a studio in London and thought: right, I’ll give this a good shot. I was 28 when I made that decision to go full-time. Before that, I was doing jewellery, graphic design… all sorts of periphery stuff!” 

Odelle hit lucky right away, meeting an art consultant early on in her London studio days. 

“She’d ring me and say: ‘what have you got?’ I’d tell her and she’d say ‘yep, I’ll take them all’. She had really good avenues for buyers. I felt very lucky for that to happen. If you spend a lot of time scrambling around making no money, it’s hard to stay on that pathway.” 

Exploring sculpture 

Odelle’s experience creating jewellery helped her move into sculpture. At first, she tried to create 3D sculpture designs on the computer, until a friend showed her how she could easily cut the metal herself, enabling Odelle to work more intuitively. 

Metal sculpture in misty field

“I got the equipment and that opened up a whole new world for me. That was four years ago. 

“Now they feed each other; sometimes the paintings feed the sculptures and vice versa. I’ve recently started painting onto the sculptures, so the two forms are melding even more. I enjoy playing with negative space in my sculptures and the shadows this casts.

“I use mostly mild steel and I try to repurpose. Every now and then I do need to purchase new material, but I prefer to use something with a story, something with history. 

“I found a big pipe in a valley near here and I think it’s 100 years old – it even has the earth imprinted in its skin. I left the moss on it, it was so beautiful. Steel will rust and change and that’s part of its beauty.”

Now based in Bannockburn, Central Otago, Odelle has a studio at the cellar door of Dicey wines – the vineyard is run by her partner James and his brother, Matt. You’ll also find a selection of Odelle’s wonderful sculptures at the Ivy Box, 134 Park Street, Queenstown.

Roimata Taimana: drawing journeys

Roimata Taimana uses drawings to express mental and physical journeys.

The musician and artist draws intricate artworks in pen, which express his own and other’s journeys.

“I’ve always been a drawer,” he explains, “I’ve been doodling since primary school. I won a couple of competitions when I was 5 or 6 years old and ever since then I’ve loved drawing. It’s taken me this long to get here, but it’s been a really nice journey.”

Roimata Taimana began his professional artistic career exhibiting works made using spray paints. He switched back to ‘doodling and drawing’ around five years ago.

He draws in black and white using V5 Hi-tech Point pens (“they’re beautiful to draw with!”). One drawing can use as many as four pens. It’s not uncommon for Roimata to work 9-hour stints, getting lost in the journey of his art.

Working in black and white enables Roimata to create more complex designs.

“The simpler the colours are, the more I can put in a drawing,” he says.

Black and white drawing by artist Roimata Taimana
Roimata Taiaman draws artworks which express his own and other’s journeys

Expressing journeys through drawing

Roimata Taimana also works for Te Korowai Hauora O Hauraki, a mental health service.

He uses drawing as a creative tool to help people explore and map their mental health journeys.

“Working in mental health is really cool because I can draw the tipuna (the story) of some of our whanau that come through mental health services.

“They come into the group meeting and give their korero on what’s happening. If something sticks with me I’ll approach them and say: look, would you like me to draw your picture for you while you journey with us?

“At the end of their term with us, they go home with their own original koha.

“People love it. It’s amazing to see their reaction, them saying: Wow, I remember this, I’ve been through all of this.
“They tell me it’s something they can sit and look at when they’re feeling down, to remind themselves: I’ve been through this already, I can get back to the light.

“I love drawing that journey for them.”

Art as a change agent

Artist Roimata Taimana with dog

Roimata Taimana’s own journey is a fascinating one and themes from his personal journey play through his artwork too.

Born in the West Auckland Titirangi region, Roimata spent time playing on the wild West Coast beaches. Then, in the early 80s, Roimata was sent to live with his adopted family in the Coromandel.

“I was living on a farm and there were thousands and millions of acres of bush to play in. That was our playground.

“So [my artwork] originally started with nature. I’ve lived in bush or wooded areas most of my life and I am prone to spending time in the bush.

“But since working in mental health, Maori influences on my art have come out so much more.

“I went for training to become a Mataora at the mental health service Te Korowai. Mataora is a change agent, but it is also the Mataora Moko – the tattoo. And since working with Te Korowai I’ve had my Mataora Moko done. Things have really changed since then and these themes have started to come out. It’s really exciting.”

Now living in Kuaotunu, a small town on the Coromandel Peninsula, Roimata looks forward to where his art will take him next.

“A billboard worth forty four thousand million dollars?” (He jokes), “An award, for being THAT guy?”

“Wherever my art takes me, it’s good, so long as people get to see it and travel in it. That would make me happy, if they can find a piece of their lives in my art work and relate to it, I’m pretty happy with that. That’s awesome. They say sharing is caring!”

Roimata Taimana art exhibition

The Ivy Box gallery’s ‘New Beginnings’ exhibition will be the South Island’s first opportunity to see Roimata Taimana’s work.

Roimata met Ivy Box Director and Curator Lynda Hensman in the Coromandel. Drawn to his authentic style, she invited him to join the special exhibition.

“To be honest, I’m shitting myself about the exhibition,” he laughs.

“But in saying that, one of the young artists also at the exhibition is part of my valley whanau. Hana does beautiful artwork and I’m stoked she’ll be there with us.

“I am absolutely honoured to be a part of this. Lynda’s a lovely lady and I’m so privileged to be part of this journey with her.”

Join Roimata Taimana and other selected artists at The Ivy Box gallery’s re-opening exhibition.

‘New Beginnings’ marks the opening of the re-imagined and lovingly restored gallery space on 17th September 2021.

Outside of the square: a quirky restoration project

Restoring the Ivy Box Gallery

“You’ve got to have a bit of vision and imagination,” says Lynda, as she stands in a dust puddle in the dark remnants of her art gallery. 

Monty the dog is sniffing at the base of one of the old schist walls and the red leaves of a climbing plant obscure the remaining window’s lake views. Outside, the builders are busy – the project is due to be finished in 2021. 

Lynda Hensman’s Ivy Box Gallery has been a favourite among locals since it opened in on Park Street (Queenstown) in 2015. Originally the town butcher’s shop, the building has been haphazardly renovated and added to over the years. It served as what Lynda calls a “snowboarders’ den”, housing seasonal workers who didn’t care about the building’s lack of insulation, until Lynda transformed it into an art gallery. 

The exterior of the building was cloaked in different varieties of ivy and climbing plants like Virgina Creeper which gave the building a vibrant red hue each autumn. It’s this appearance which made the building look so quaint and Instagram-able. But Lynda explains that, sooner or later, a more serious renovation was required: 

“The rats were holding hands in the walls, they were keeping this up. When the builders removed one of the floors, 90 years’ worth of rat shit fell down on them. I had to buy them a box of beers for that.”

The Ivy Box gallery before restorations began
Nothing to see here: How the building looked before Lynda Hensman began transforming it in 2015

A quirky restoration project

In 2017, she contacted architect Thom Ibbotson from Yoke to help bring the building up to modern standards and to develop living spaces for Lynda and her daughter on the spacious section behind the gallery. 

“I chose Thom because he was young, intelligent and very fresh with his ideas and concepts,” adds Lynda. 

Thom says a technicality within the resource consent process has become an asset to the project. 

“Resource consent ended up triggering work to be done to the existing building, which had a 1970 add-on that was only really held together by ivy. The bottom part of the building was schist and we wanted to keep that – that’s the historic part. 

“[…]The building isn’t classed as historical… but it’s proper old, nothing is straight or stable. A lot of work has been done to preserve three walls. A lot of neighbours have a romantic relationship with the building, but it’s the 70s portion that most people could see.” 

The real work begins: the Ivy Box begins to transform in early 2021

Outside of the square

The building was uninsulated and Lynda had to wrap up warm to work in the gallery – particularly during Queenstown’s icy winters. The renovations will change this, creating a practical space that’s warm and a pleasure to work and create in. Thom says that Lynda’s use of the space – and her personality – have also shaped the project.

“What this project is and what it is about is specific to Lynda. It’s not a normal brief. It’s a home occupation and a hobby and this is her unique approach. She’s a great client, one who’s wanting to take risks. 

“Her creativity has added a lot to this project and her foresight as an artist meant that she knew what she wanted – bold, strong forms and good aesthetics. Lynda has a bold personality and the concept and the design reflects that – it’s raw, there’s concrete block and exposed steel with a bit of glazing.” 

Using concrete and exposed metal will enable the climbing ivy and Virginia creeper plants to envelop the building again, restoring the building to its former leafy glory. The addition of a balcony and glazing on the upper floor will take in views of the mountains and lakes. 

Not long to go: The Ivy Box in June 2021

Lynda envisions her new artist’s studio doubling as a personal yoga studio – all with prime views to inspire and invigorate her work. Once complete, she’ll return the downstairs gallery to its original purpose: a home for art that’s created ‘outside of the square’. 

Making use of the oddities of the original building, the space and the opportunities to create something new have been a key part of this project. 

“Unique is a word that’s bandied about a lot, but I believe this is it,” says Lynda.  

This article first appeared in Building Dreams magazine, November 2020, and has been republished with permission

The dream location: discovering Queenstown as an artist

It was love at first sight when artist Sue Hartly first arrived in Queenstown, New Zealand. 

Originally from Australia, Sue lived and exhibited her artwork around the world before settling in Queenstown in 2014. Sue talks about what it’s like discovering Queenstown as an artist:

“I took a trip to Queenstown to see a friend who lived here,” she explains. “We’d not even arrived, and I looked out of the plane window and saw the mountains and thought: oh god, it’s like the Swiss Alps. 

“On arrival, I explored Queenstown and Arrowtown. As an artist, I saw so many colours and I saw inspiration for paintings everywhere. So I bought a house here within a week… yes, on that first visit. It was love at first sight! I’ve been here seven years now and I still love it.”

Artist Sue Hartly in Queenstown
Artist Sue Hartly at her home in Queenstown

Discovering Queenstown as an artist

Not long after arriving, Sue met Ivy Box Gallery artist and director Lynda Hensman

“I’m proud of being invited to be part of the Ivy Box. It’s such an edgy gallery, with a really good vibe. It’s a unique building, in a great location overlooking the lake. 

“Lynda, the owner, and a talented artist in her own right, is such a great ambassador for local artists. I really admire how much effort she’s put into the local arts community and I am honoured to show my work next to other talented artists in Queenstown.”

Art by Sue Hartly Queenstown
Detail from one of Sue Hartly’s mesmerising artworks

Artwork by Sue Hartly

Painting in a contemporary, surreal style, Sue Hartly’s artworks have been popular at exhibitions around the world, with her artworks held by art lovers in Spain, the USA and Australia. 

Her detailed inkworks and large oil paintings depict the sea, sky and landscapes, snapshots of her well-travelled life. Otherworldly women can often be seen peeking out of her paintings: the detail-orientated art lover will be well rewarded with a painting by Sue Hartly in their home.  

“I love oils. I love painting nature and women – strong women.

“I like creating things that people have to keep looking at. You have to look closely to see the women emerge. There’s a lot of hidden detail. I’ve had people have text me a while after buying a picture to say: wait, is there another woman in the tree in the corner?!

Inkwork by artist Sue Hartly

“I enjoy inkwork because it’s fast and finely detailed. You don’t have to wait for it to dry, you keep going. It’s a real challenge and I love that. For a bigger challenge, I enjoy large-scale paintings, where you have to stop and wait for the layers to dry: these take many months and a lot of patience. But I enjoy that: creating and developing as I go. It’s all good fun.” 

Want to see Sue Hartly’s latest intriguing artworks? Call in at the Ivy Box gallery. Opening September 2021. 

Bikes and landscapes: introducing artist Antoinette Beck

Artist Antoinette Beck with her art in a camper van while exploring Queenstown, New Zealand
Artist Antoinette Beck travelling in her camper van

Artist Antoinette Beck met Queenstown’s Ivy Box Art Gallery director Lynda Hensman in an unexpected place. 

The last to join a motorcycle tour through the Alps, Antoinette Beck and her partner Mike hadn’t originally planned on going on the tour at all. 

“It was our first motorbike tour and neither of us are interested in doing tours as such,” she explains, “but it was our first time in that country on a motorbike and we thought it would be sensible to do a tour.” 

Lynda and her partner were already on the tour and the foursome connected instantly. Antoinette and Lynda soon discovered their joint passion for art. 

“We’d sneak out to art galleries and shows while the boys did their thing. We’d discuss art and philosophy… we connected on so many levels and got talking about what we are passionate about. At a similar time, we both decided art was something we’d take more seriously and we took a few art classes and workshops together.”  

About artist Antoinette Beck

Artist Antoinette Beck with bikes and caravan in Queenstown
Artist Antoinette Beck exploring Queenstown by bike

With Antoinette based in her Studio 57 gallery in Taupo and Lynda in her studio in Queenstown, the two developed an artistic rapport. Lynda admired Antoinette’s photo-realistic style, while Antoinette wanted to develop the looser, more free technique she admired in Lynda’s artwork

“Back then, my style was almost like photo realism because I wanted to prove to myself that I could paint what I see. Previously, I had channelled my passion for art into so many other things over the years: as an interior designer, an art teacher, but I had not done it personally because of that huge fear. What if I couldn’t paint at all? Photo realism was my way of proving to myself that I could. 

“I got all of that out and then decided that I wanted to loosen up. If I’m not careful, I start to sneak back to that almost photo-realistic style, so Lynda and I did ‘freeing up’ workshops together and that worked really well for me. 

“People describe my style now as atmospheric and moody. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation.” 

Joining the Ivy Box Gallery

Artwork by Antoinette Beck will be exhibited for the first time in Queenstown when the new Ivy Box Gallery is unveiled in spring 2021. 

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the new Ivy Box Gallery building and I’m rapt to be part of it.” 

This summer, Antoinette has travelled New Zealand in her campervan, exploring the varied landscapes of the South Island by mountain bike.  

“We’ve done some amazing bike riding, around Wanaka, Queenstown and the West Coast. It’s a wonderful way to see the country and I now understand better why the work of South Island artists looks the way it does. The landscapes are on a whole different scale here.

“I’m often inspired by the landscapes where I live, Taupo, Rotorua and around these areas. It’s geothermic; there’s mud pools, steam and geysers. A lot of my work became more atmospheric because of that. There’s a wonderful colour palette there – everything from rusty reds to crusty white edges and the beautiful aqua-coloured water, it all ‘pops’. But my art is moving on from that now; it’s all landscape art in a general way, but I’ll let you decide what it really is.” 

Art evoking memories

Painting primarily in oils on board with negative detail framing, Antoinette’s artworks are ethereal and evoke memories. Her slightly-out-of-focus landscapes remind the viewer of somewhere they’ve been before. 

“An artist’s work is never static. We’re always trying to work out where we are going next. I’m not interesting in repeating myself. I definitely paint for myself… it has to come out. I paint because I have to, that’s the feeling. So I paint what I like, not what I think will sell (though it’d be hard if it didn’t sell… I’d have a house full on canvases!). People do seem to connect with that passion. And that’s why I’m excited about becoming part of the Ivy Box. 

“You can see from the art and artists that Lynda brings together, that they and Lynda are doing it from the heart. They are all painting what they need to paint, not painting what they think will sell. That’s the difference. That’s what I love about the Ivy Box.

“Lynda has a very individual taste. That’s what I fell in love with when I first met her and I think the new gallery is going to reflect that passion and individualism.”