Clare Reilly: Eye of the Calm is an exploration of New Zealand painter Clare Reilly’s life and work. The mixture of autobiographical writing and gorgeous paintings subtly shows how Reilly’s art and experiences are entwined. Her themes cover the issues of habitat destruction and renewal, depicting native New Zealand birds in the landscape as metaphors for joy. In an increasingly troubled and fast paced world, Reilly’s work offers the viewer a place to reflect on the healing qualities of nature and gather a sense of revitalisation.
‘Eye of the Calm’ was an exhibition title used by Reilly as an expression of her life’s work. This expression is continued here with an insight into her beginnings as an artist and her subsequent career. Reilly has a strong connection to coastal New Zealand and a great love of the country’s wildlife. From first encounters with Tui in her grandmother’s garden to memories of rolling hills overlooking the ever-changing sea, these passions have inspired her work and are brought to life here in a beautiful collection.
Experience a sense of calm and hope with this story of a fascinating life told through both words and imagery. Themes including death, grief, finding new paths, and even dance and the joyful movement of birds in flight are explored in a manner that is personal, yet universal. A beautiful, meditative exploration of a life and a life’s work.
Clare Reilly is an artist, and has been painting and exhibiting since 1976. She has held many solo and group shows over the past four decades and undertakes many commissions each year. Her images have been used on book covers and have been included in NZ Landscape Art calendar collections. Clare also produces cards and self-titled annual calendars. Her artwork has achieved international recognition and her private commissions have found their way into collections in Argentina, North America, Israel, Europe and Australia, as well as throughout New Zealand.
Clare is passionate about conservation and has been involved with the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust’s Tui Restoration Project, for which she travelled around New Zealand to help Tui by relocating them to better environments. She continues to support conservation projects through her artworks, which express an underlying connection with the natural environment, in particular an empathy with native birds. Her more recent works focus on issues such as the encroachment of human activity on the limited natural resources we have left, and the historical effects of settlement on the native land species found in her locality.
Clare has two sons and worked as a part-time Montessori teacher alongside painting for 16 years, until she returned to full time painting in 2008. She was born and educated in Wellington, New Zealand, and now lives in Waitati, on the coast of the South Island. This is her first book.