Artist adds a transparent touch to sweet pea presentation

Tuesday 16 September 2008, 6:21AM

By True Communications



A stunning new collection of sweet peas from New Zealand plant breeder Dr Keith Hammett has inspired artist Murray Grimsdale to achieve a long-held ambition.

Mr Grimsdale has been commissioned to paint a unique set of screens for the presentation of Dr Hammett's new sweet pea varieties at the Auckland Flower Show.

Mr Grimsdale said he had long wanted to create art on a screen that was transparent, so that light could come into play. "I had never quite achieved that ambition until now." The screens will be a backdrop to a range of sweet peas that offers new colours and petal formations. The screens themselves feature flowers and birds, both subjects with which Mr Grimsdale has acclaimed experience.

The end effect promises to be spectacularly theatrical, displaying both the new sweet peas and Mr Grimsdale's artwork in a way that will enthral, says the Flower Show's exhibition gardens convenor Jenny Pullar. "The display will be set up indoors, within the Floral Art Hall, which enables a whole new approach to the integration of art and light into the designers' work."

The Flower Show organiser, Mr Paul McLuckie, says previous flower show visitors and exhibitors were very clear on the need for the show to have a stronger focus on floral art. And so this year's Auckland Flower Show will be a tribute to flowers, with two large floral design halls. One will present the work of floral societies and clubs, under the theme of 'dancing with the flowers'. In this hall, there will be floral demonstrations and a design contest, where the public can watch floral artists compete using common components.

The other hall will feature the work of professional florists, under the theme of 'fusion flowers'. It will include a huge (8m x 4m) collaboration from award-winning floral designers Iain Stephens, representing New Zealand, and Mark Pampling, representing Australia.

The Flower Show takes place at Alexandra Park from November 20 to 23. It promises to be a celebration of floral and garden design that people can enjoy no matter what the weather. "Alexandra Park is an all weather venue, with its covered walkways and availability of indoor facilities for the floral displays," says Mr McLuckie.

The Alexandra Park venue also offers covered areas for retail stalls, indoor hospitality areas, an exhibition garden avenue on the inner part of the raceway, and plenty of parking.