By Nathan Crombie
The evolving artworks of MainARTery member Tina-Rae Carter – like each of her collective compadres – have found forever homes in Wairarapa and beyond.
Carter is an old girl of Wairarapa College, where her career as an artist began in earnest after she also attended a short course at Whitecliffe School of Fine Arts in Auckland.
The mum of teen twins, and step-mum to an adult son, says art was her path to expression – and a relief from her incessant interrogation of the rorts and rewards of existence.
“Art because it has the freedom that I crave, there are no limits, and it was a way to quiet my mind of all the constant questioning of the human condition.”
Carter started painting commissions in 1987, and left New Zealand in 1989, travelling throughout Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the USA.
She studied fine arts at The University of New Mexico for a summer semester and, after relocating to Melbourne, studied for four years at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Dip Vis Arts) (1 year advanced applied design).
She exhibited in the USA and Australia, before returning to New Zealand in 2001.
Carter threw in with the Wairarapa art group MainARTery in 2007, a year after the group was founded, and her work has been exhibited at galleries throughout New Zealand.
Notable exhibitions in which she was involved include the Moment and Movement show running at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History in Masterton until November 27. The exhibition is the swansong for the MainARTery group
Carter was selected in 2014 to exhibit at the Wellington Regional Arts Review at the Expressions Gallery, and she was involved as well that year with the MainARTery Linked group show at Aratoi.
A year earlier she held a solo show at the Masterton museum entitled Salt, which came a year after her selection for the Adam Portrait Awards at Shed 11 in Wellington. Her work also toured nationally with the show.
In 2011 she was part of the MainARTery group’s Transplant exhibition at Expressions Gallery, which was the second Main ARTery show after its Zoned exhibition at Aratoi earlier that same year.
She also that year took a Highly Placed at the Wai Art Portrait Awards.
In 2010 she showed her work at the Little Jewels exhibition and at the WaiArt exhibition, both held at Aratoi, after her selection the preceding year for the Wairarapa Art Review at Aratoi, where she won a Merit Prize.
Other exhibitions she had earlier completed include Looking Down the Barrel in 2008 and The Face of NZ Wine (group show) NZ Portrait
At Gallery Shed 11 and tour through the Millennium Art Gallery in Blenheim, Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown, and the Leftbank Art Gallery in Greymouth.
She was selected that same year for inclusion in the Adam Portrait Awards, Shed 11 Wellington, a show which was also toured nationwide at Lopdell House in Titorangi,the Eastern Southern Gallery in Gore, and at Hawke’s Bay Exhibition Centre in Hastings.
That year she was selected for the Wairarapa Art Review at Aratoi as well.
The preceding year she exhibited at Aratoi as part of the Main ARTery group show and held her solo Origin Provincial exhibition at the Masterton venue as well.
Carter includes as her most notable commissions her selection to design and paint the ceiling of the Hawke’s Bay Opera House throughout a two year period from 2004, extending to carpet design, and other finishes and effects throughout the auditorium.
Another commission highlight, she said, was her selection to design, alongside architects, the stencils and mirror/brass etching designs, and paint refurbishments and ceiling stencils for the Wellington Opera House, which won the Resene Total Colour Heritage Award.
Other stand-out work during her career, she said, included set design and scenic in the late 1980s, and murals since 1994 to the present day. In 2012 she won the nationwide Best Professional Mural Award Resene.
For several years to 2001, she also worked in film and television in Melbourne as a scenic artist, and also worked in art direction and production design for several art house independent films.
Carter was also lead artist on numerous private, and large scale public art projects including murals and sculpture here at home in New Zealand and in Australia.
Some of her greatest rewards were won, Carter said, while working as an art tutor from 2007 to 2015.
She led art workshops for children at Aratoi and for Montessori Wairarapa and ,creating murals with children
in 2013, she was part of the Paint up Wellington project run by the Wellington City Council at Berhampore School.
She also tutored art for three years from 2012 at South End School and Carterton Preschool, and has also shown her work at the Womad and Kokomai art festivals.
Her mural work also graces the east wall of the Wairarapa Senior Citizens Club in the centre of Masterton and at three broadband cabinets in the town, at Kuripuni, outside the Masterton Town Hall, and at the foot of Lansdowne Hill.
Carter said she bids a fond farewell to MainArtery but, without missing a beat, has joined the Ventana art collective founded in Martinborough this year.
For more information go to the Tina Rae Carter website.
MainARTery, which for a decade was Wairarapa’s only open studio art trail, is winding down. The exhibition MOMENT and Movement is made up of 18 past and present artists and seals their work together.
The collective was started by a group of Wairarapa artists in 2006 and launched with a group show at an artspace on Main Street in Carterton. The aim was to represent the region’s working artists and give the public an opportunity to meet the artists in their own creative environments. MOMENT and Movement ends this Sunday November 23.