Billy McQueen | Archive 02 ##5th – 25th March

Billy McQueen | Archive 02 ##5th – 25th March

Archive 02


The subject matter of McQueen’s new paintings is largely drawn from domestic scenes of family life or imagery of, or connected to, ancestral land in the Kaingaroa Plains. His choice of subject matter is quietly biographical – not political – and really secondary to his central aim which is concerned with painterly substance, surface and the illusionistic spaces it can create. While these personalised images start out as biography, they end up somewhere between painted images and abstract paintings, playing in that elusive ‘in-between space’, where form is undermined, obscured, ambiguous and open to interpretation.


“Iwitahi is situated 16 km east of Taupo on the Napier/Taupo road. During the 1980s, Iwitahi like many forestry villages/towns past, were ‘decommissioned’. Families, houses, schools, uprooted. If one knows where to look artifacts remain – house steps, the school tennis court, the village pool and Mt Morgan ( a man-made hill with a water-tank perched on top).

Every few years I’ll visit – the most recent trip Christmas 2019 – each time there is more growth, more blackberry, more pine needles. Now, even a relatively large village pool is difficult to find. I stand in a pool of pine needles, surrounded by trees and try to recall my childhood. A tall brown fence surrounding the pool, kids jumping from the top and ice-cold water. At this very spot there were usually kids laughing and having fun but today it’s only the creaking of pine trees”   Billy McQueen, 2020