Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Melbourne - Looking Up

Whenever I walk the streets of inner city Melbourne, I invariably find myself looking up.
I find incredible beauty in the architectural forms etched against the impossibly blue sky.
I love the way buildings 'colonise' each other with their reflections.
Layer upon layer
Of glass, steel, brick and concrete
A beautiful juxtaposition of angles and shapes
Of verticals and horizontals
A layering of styles and time
I think of it as a kind of architectural poetry
A visual poetry

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Look for Queenstown Dining Institution

Queenstown's Wai Restaurant on Steamer Wharf has had a major revamp.
After ten years in business, this waterfront favourite is poised to become one of the resort town's finest dining spots.
On top of that, it was a finalist in the 2011 Cuisine Restaurant of the Year.
Established by Alex Boyes and Jan Rae in 2001, Wai quickly established itself as a quality dining spot and when head chef Martin James and his wife, Megan bought into the business in 2004, it went from strength to strength. They've recently won the Pernod Ricard competition for selling the most Mumm Champagne of any restaurant in New Zealand, which meant the owners were treated to a gastronomic trip to Chicago.
Now, with a sophisticated new bar and dining room to match the sophisticated cuisine, Wai is set to be a real winner.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 140

"Bargoyle 1"
A wry take on modern consumerism from one of New Zealand's leading printmakers. For others in this series click on Cleavin in the label line below.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

StreetscapeNZ - 117

Deco Apartments
(One of the few that appear untouched by the earthquakes).
Montreal Street, Christchurch

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 139

"Monument & Pedastal II"
A work in the continuing series by top New Zealand printmaker, Barry Cleavin.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Seafood in the South

Nothing beats sitting on Queenstown's Steamer Wharf watching the TSS Earnslaw steam into town, while you enjoy succulent seafood at Finz Seafood Grill.
This terrific little wharf-side restaurant is all about great value and great views and when it comes to seafood they;ve got just about all the bases covered. With a menu that swings from creamy seafood chowder, prawns and oysters to green-lipped mussels, salmon, talbot, sole, monkfish and crispy-battered fish and chips in a newsprint package, there's something for all tastes. And if fish isn't your thing, there's Southland pork, ribeye beef, lamb and roast duck.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Winter Vines - Marlborough Wine Region

For me, there's something quite mesmerising about soldier-like rows of grapes marching across the the landscape.
I took these photos in the autumn of 2010, when I was travelling in Marlborough.
A rolling, twisting, undulating mass of vines lurching over the low hills.
Green, gold, brown bleeding together.
Smoke from an autumn fire swirling lazily toward the hills.
May 2010, Ajr.

Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 138

When real life gets dragged into the artists studio - a new work by one of New Zealand's top printmakers.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bella Cucina - A Southern Gem

You're never short of a good restaurant in Queenstown and one of my personal favourites is Bella Cucina - a warm-hearted little spot in Brecon Street that's all about sharing a love of Italy and a passion for good food and wine.
Co-owner Martin James and a team of international chefs spin out simple, tasty food that you remember long after the event - Southland lamb, spicy sausage, wild rabbit and hare, all slow-cooked in the big wood-fired oven that gives the restaurant so much atmosphere.
There's laughter and noise, flickering candles, rustic candelabras, iron wall lights and vintage Italian posters - and of course, the always-tantalizing aroma of herbs and fine cooking. Best of all, in a resort town filled with spending opportunities, it doesn't break the bank.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A City Wasteland

Inner city Christchurch is a mess. If buildings aren't standing in a state of ruin, they're in the process of being demolished - or they have been demolished and once vibrant inner city streets are now forlorn, messy, empty tracts.
Yet, just as I have been fascinated by the ruins and then the process of demolition, I now find myself drawn to those empty expanses of city land - to the gravelled over mud, the lingering bulk of concrete foundations poking out of the ground like some freshly discovered archaeological dig.
Buildings have been torn down to reveal new patterns and forms on the adjacent, untouched structures. Bright coloured walls I hadn't seen before, now glow amid the rubble. Old typography in long-ago covered-over shop signs is once again exposed to view.
A bright flapping tarpaulin, a pile of red bricks, hefty shipping containers, lines of coloured Port-a-loos, upturned drums, old sofas, a mattress, a discarded pot, new graffiti - it's all there - the scatterings of torn-apart lives.
I walk for hours photographing these earthquake remnants and the empty spaces they lie in. It's as if someone is sucking the life out of the city. Every time I return another square has been rendered empty and lifeless.
As I sit here, in the middle of winter, it's hard to feel positive about the future of Christchurch.
I take these photos to try and make sense of all the mess, to find some small visual jewels worth keeping, but at heart I know it will be many years before this place I now call home will reclaim any feeling of vibrancy and excitement for me.
But perhaps things will look better in summer.


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