Sandra Bushby

Sandra Bushby’s abstract paintings explore the concept of painterly and poetic intervals. She employs both the formal language of painting—colours, spaces, lines—and the signs and structures of written (and spoken) poems—punctuation, line breaks, breaths —to create an entirely new language. Reading poetry and referencing poems’ visual structures and forms is at the core of her practice. In this way, her paintings also become a space for reflection. She is currently a Doc FA candidate at Elam School of Fine Arts, the University of Auckland. Her thesis title ‘burrowing out’ suggests painting as a tool for turning things over, for ‘opening up unexpected pockets of feeling.’ She primarily works in oil on linen, with a restrained, earthy colour palette of greys, reds, blues, and greens. Allan Smith says of her recent work, ‘Sandra works as if painting is a special way of marking time; of letting time take incremental and intermittent form; of letting time show itself through its crumbled edges and atmospheric patching; of showing the inadvertency of painting’s time.’ The blocks of colour, repeated lines, small energetic marks are arranged on the canvas in such a way that visually suggest lines or stanzas of poetry. Though they also suggest the energy of poetry too: each painting has its own rhythm, density, and clear, light spaces for taking a breath.


Sandra Bushby (b. 1965, Napier, New Zealand) currently lives and works in Auckland where she is a Doc FA candidate at Elam School of Fine Arts, the University of Auckland. She has recently exhibited work at Window, Auckland, Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland, and George Fraser Gallery, Auckland. Her work is held at the Te Papa and Auckland Museum collections.