Don Binney

Tui over kauri, Te Henga

Tui over kauri, Te Henga by Don Binney

Artwork Detail

Soaring above two young kauri a tui flies. Don Binney captures the blue-black iridescent quality of the bird’s feathers with his deft handling of the thickly applied paint. The elegant, lyrical outline of the bird, its wings outstretched, suggest its gliding motion. One imagines that momentarily the heavy wing of the tui will be audible in the silence of the bush, propelling it further on its journey. The sky has the air of a hazy summer day, distinct in its smoothness against the deeper blue ripples of the distant sea. Below the tui, the kauri trees appear like gangly teenagers – all limbs and feet – their new growth fashioned out of highly impasto paint, contrasting with the simplified forms of the hills in the background.

Te Henga, also known as Bethells Beach, on Auckland’s West Coast has been the inspiration for many of Don Binney’s works. He stated in the catalogue to his 1966 show at Barry Lett Gallery that an artist’s commitment to an area “defines the idiom of the artist as it does the forms, surfaces and innate presence of land that compels his vision. These qualities, seen in the light of year to year experience produce characteristic images which gain in strength from this constant reappraisal.”

Tui over kauri, Te Henga
Don Binney
Production date
oil and acrylic on board
1050 x 540 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wellington, 2003
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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