Mark Braunias wins the 2021 Parkin Drawing Prize!

19 August, 2021

In Search of the Saccharine Underground, 2021

Congratulations, Mark, on your thrilling win of this year's Parkin Drawing Prize. The work ‘In Search of the Saccharine Underground’ is a colourful, large-scale diptych made from ink and acrylic on industrial builders’ paper. Judge Dr Sarah Farrah described it  as "fresh, spirited and uncontainable", with the artist's "intuitive and spontaneous mark-making" being "audacious, comic and compelling". 

The term ‘Saccharine Underground' was coined by American rock music critic Greil Marcus in the late 1960s to describe certain aspects of contemporary pop music which had an underlying ‘heavy’ edge but was presented with ironic superficiality. Braunias elaborates: “We’re talking counter-culture.... the music sounds saccharine – kind of cheesy – but there’s a profundity within the lyrical content.” He relates this to his practice, where he "takes the cute but gives it a formal modernist edge. It’s not just about doing cartoons and something funny; there is a seriousness behind the work.”

We're very much looking forward to Mark's upcoming exhibition (of the same title as the winning Parkin work) opening here at JSG on Friday 8 October.




Guest curator introduces Korean artists to JSG

1 July, 2021

Hye Rim Lee - TOKI and Dragon in the Balloons, 2008

In the exhibition The Song Remains the Same, curator Eugene Huston features work by two highly talented and technically savvy Korean New Zealand artists.

Hye Rim Lee uses 3D animation to question the role of new technology in image-making and representation. Her work TOKI and Dragon in the Balloons is a digital print series depicting a fantasy tale made with a cyber heroine TOKI and her mythical creature Dragon YONG, as they journey through different imaginative cities. The artist describes her work as exploring aspects of contemporary pop culture between West and East, and examines instinct, fantasy and sexual innuendo through mythological elements of identity.

Jae Hoon Lee, on the other hand, employs advanced Photoshop techniques to skew and manipulate his landscape-based digital imagery, creating a hyper-real experience for the viewer. Paradoxically, the beauty of the cloud formations in his work Sunset in Whanganui, could equally be seen as warning of impending doom.

The Song Remains the Same runs from 17 June to 17 July, at 52 Buchan St, Sydenham. It can also be viewed online:




Neil Dawson at the 2021 Auckland Art Fair

5 March, 2021


From 24 - 28 February at the Auckland Art Fair, Jonathan Smart Gallery proudly presented a solo show of twelve domestic-size, wall-mounted feathers by renowned sculptor Neil Dawson. Each sculpture, which is around 1800mm in length, is unique in its design, and is primarily based on feathers from New Zealand and Australian birds.  The feathers are laser-cut in polycarbonate and/or aluminium, to which gloss, matt and pearlescent automotive paint is skillfully applied to give a subtle, luminous finish. A limited edition catalogue was also produced for the occasion.

Despite the final day of the AAF being cancelled due to Auckland going into a Covid Level 3 alert, the solo presentation of the Neil Dawson feathers was a resounding success.
To hear the artist talk on this series of works, a 3 minute video produced by Pīwakawaka Pictures is available for viewing:




Judy Darragh appointed an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for her services to the arts

1 June, 2020

Judy Darragh with Jonathan Smart installing her 2017 show Ummm

She's been royally recognised! In this year's Queens Birthday Honours, our wondrously innovative artist Judy Darragh has been appointed an ONZM for her services to the arts. In her 35 year career as an artist, a teacher, a mentor and a champion of women in the arts, Judy has held more than 70 solo exhibitions. We are proud to have represented her since the gallery's beginnings in 1988, and look forward to her upcoming shows at JSG in September and at the Christchurch Art Gallery in November. Our warmest congratulations, Judy!



Richard Reddaway at Aratoi 

11 December, 2019


Richard Reddaway at Aratoi


Richard Reddaway - the body of work / it does no harm to wonder - is showing from 23 November 2019 - 23 February 2020 at Aratoi, Wairarapa Museum of Art and History. The exhibition surveys Richard Reddaway's work from the 1980's to his current practice, exploring enduring themes and tracking them in relation to the socio-political contexts in which they were made. Image with thanks from Aratoi - pictured are curator Janita Craw, Richard Reddaway, Susanna Shadbolt, Director of Aratoi  




Julia Morison and Mark Braunias at Objectspace

23 November, 2019


Julia Morison - Head[case] No. 23 Mark Braunias - Ena Snuggles


Soon to open at Auckland's Objectspace for the summer season are exhibitions by two of our most creatively adventurous artists, Julia Morison and Mark Braunias. Connected (perhaps) by playful imaginations and exaggerated forms, Julia Morison's Head[case] and Mark Braunias's Ena Snuggles can be viewed at the Rose Road, Ponsonby gallery from 7 December 2019 until 29 February 2020. In the meantime, check out the following links to these two fascinating shows:




Andrew Drummond's About Balance & Occupation - a must to experience!

1 November, 2018

 front gallery

It's a rare occasion for those who enter a gallery to be invited to play with the artworks, but Andrew Drummond's stunning installation in our front space offers exactly this. Visitors are encouraged to touch, to move, to engage with the substance and grace of the artist's delicately poised objects as they respond to the stroke of a hand.
About Balance & Occupation needs to be experienced in the space for which it was created. Make sure you don't miss it - it runs for just 9 more days!

About Balance & Occupation
October 9 - November 10, 2018




Celebrating 30 Years at JSG!

18 June, 2018

Wow, what an achievement! Thirty years of operating a contemporary art gallery in Ōtautahi. And on the evening of June 5 we celebrated well, opening a group show called Rock 'n' Roll with works by artists whom we've represented right from our early beginnings through to several who have joined us more recently.

Thank you to all those who attended the opening night and helped us honour the occasion. Check out the images below and at /Exhibitions/Rock-n-Roll/


Jonathan cutting the cake Jonathan, Anne Noble & Neil Dawson


Jonathan, Neil Dawson & Julia Morison Jonathan & Julia Morison

opening night attendees

opening night attendees - Richard Reddaway centre