Next-gen farmers and advocates for forward-thinking farming practices, Richard and Laura Morrison, are making waves in the nation’s art scene. They’ve secured renowned artist Andrew McLeod for a first-of-its-kind artist residency housed on their family farm, The Gullies.
The couple are keen on fostering more positive and diverse conversations around farming, arts and the environment and see ‘The Gullies Art Residency’ as a tangible example of diverse farming collaborations.
“The residency attracted 22 gallery-represented artist applications in its first year which has proven there is an exciting opportunity for collaboration and connection between art and agriculture in New Zealand,” residency coordinator Laura Morrison says.
After a competitive selection process it was prominent Auckland-based artist Andrew McLeod who was offered the inaugural spot.
“We have been blown away by the number of quality applicants and to have secured such a renowned and prolific artist in our infancy is thrilling,” Laura says.
“We feel Andrew will gain a lot from being part of the wider-Whanganui arts community for a couple of months, and we feel confident the farm and our agricultural practice, alongside the farm’s character and native bush, will be a key component in his approach to his time here.”
McLeod’s work is housed in a number of national galleries including Te Papa Tongarewa and Auckland Art Gallery. His rich, large-scale, hyper-realist works were stand out viewing at the 2021 Auckland Art Fair, and he has received a number of awards and recognition during his career.
McLeod says he applied for the residency “because the hosts seemed friendly, and the change of scene will be a gentle exposure to the countryside and getting to know people in the Rangitīkei. It’s a nice, open residency with regard to outputs and type of artist, and I found this encouraging.”
The Gullies Arts Residency aims to support established artists in New Zealand who wish to show their commitment to ‘grassroots’ art within the wider community.
It runs for 8 weeks and the selected artist year-on-year will stay in ‘The Cottage at The Gullies’, a near-new, fully furnished residence, situated on the farm 10 minutes from Marton, with sweeping views of the surrounding farmland, and on a clear day, Mount Ruapehu.
McLeod will have access to a purpose-built artist studio and access to the farm and 60 hectares of native bush. The residency includes a stipend of $350 per week.
The artist-in-residence commits to at least one open studio day at The Gullies and a further event within the Rangitīkei district where their practice will be discussed and showcased. The public will also be welcome at a formal native tree-planting ceremony on The Gullies farm at the conclusion of McLeod’s residency.