Cambridge abstract and figurative artist Raewyn Whaley has drawn on the influences of Plato’s allegory The Cave for her current exhibition.
Themed ‘What is real’, the exhibition opened earlier this month at The Mandarin Tree Gallery in Gordonton and ends on June 25.
The five featured paintings reflect Plato’s urgings for his readers to open their minds and see ‘what is real’. The story itself tells of prisoners chained in a cave, watching reflected shadows on a wall, never seeing beyond their prison. One escapes, discovers life outside and returns to tell the others, but they reject his revelations. His escape signifies spiritual and philosophical enlightenment.
The theme is a good fit with Whaley’s philosophical viewpoint, which explores ideas and notions of ‘being’. She is known for her practice of spontaneous undirected drawing which she re-interprets into abstract paintings.
The artist graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree from the University of Auckland in 2002 and moved to Cambridge a couple of years ago. Her background of exhibiting and winning awards extends back to 1986 and many of her works feature in national and international collections. `
Her early years were influenced by the creative culture in her home life. Whaley’s grandfather Clarence Leman was one of Auckland’s early builders of villas, and first fibrous plaster manufacturer of ornate plaster ceilings.
Last year, she and her artist daughter Alex Whaley-Smith, exhibited together at an exhibition at Morrinsville’s Wallace Gallery.
The Mandarin Tree Gallery is at 1034 Gordonton Rd. It is open today until 4pm, closed Matariki Day, and open until 2pm on Saturday.