With most artists there is usually a family connection to other artists. An aunt, a grand-parent, a distant cousin. With Rebecca Tune, it’s very direct, she grew up in her fathers’ studio. Her earliest memories are hanging out as her father painted, watching him, emulating him and most importantly learning from him. It wasn’t just in the studio though, it was a well-rounded art education which included being dragged with her sister off to gallery openings and the ubiquitous cheese and crackers.
Geoff Tune was taught by Colin McCahon and they were good mates, there is a McCahon in the family collection, a straight swap – back in the day. Geoff continued to take a keen interest in in his daughters work right up to his death last August 2017, at the too early age of seventy. Rebecca was clearly very close to her father and he was very supportive – she continues to miss him. Over the years she exhibited with her father and will do so again next month – Art Bureau is celebrating the two of them as part of Art Week in Auckland.
After studying art at the ASA, Rebecca took the PostGrad route to teaching and returned to her own school at Auckland Girls Grammar. From there she was poached by a design company and given six months on-job training to become a graphic designer. With some of her work you can see this attention to detail, whilst some pieces flow in a very abstract colourful way, others are full of minute detail.
Some paintings appear to be a series of vibrant skyscrapers and I asked Rebecca if she had lived overseas, expecting her to say that she’d had time in Tokyo, Shanghai or New York. But no, she has travelled but she’s an Aucklander through and through. She says she’s a city girl and the metropolis series is a response to walking downtown with music coming out of the shops and the height of the buildings and the colour coming through is partly inspired by stained glass windows.
Despite the city vibe she started painting professionally when she lived out at Piha on the north western beaches. After the birth of her first child she moved in to Balmoral with her husband and has been painting there at home, in a light filled room ever since.
Rebecca has not had it easy, both children have had health issues and the younger child has Asperger’s Syndrome. This has meant though that working from home has been a means of being able to continue her practice and cope with what life has thrown her way. She’s bright and optimistic and good company though, and I follow from the studio to the kitchen to drink coffee.
I ask the predictable question of career highlights and she says she was showcased at Te Papa for the opening of the Monet show in 2009. With some of her work you can see why, there was a pond series a few years back and there is definitely a Monet feel. With of course a contemporary twist, the colours, the layers and the texture are very much Rebecca. She also won the young Mount Eden Artist award twice. I ask too about the future and she says making pottery in the Coromandel but then laughs it off as more of a pipe dream.
So if you are in Auckland on the 11th October do get along to the father and daughter exhibition, you might even get some cheese and crackers!
The Art Library has a selection of Rebeccas work available for rental and sale.
In Auckland Art Bureau have a selection of Geoff and Rebecca’s work for sale and rental.
This article is one of a new series of profiles of artists and those that are involved in the art world. Sponsored by The Art Library Ltd.
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