2024 Artist Helen Kerridge

Established in 1991, The Hawke’s Bay Wine Auction is the oldest wine auction in New Zealand.

The Hawke’s Bay Wine Auction presents one major artwork by a feature artist each year.

2024 Feature Artist
Helen Kerridge

Helen’s forty year career spans across work as an artist, photographic retoucher, illustrator, and arts tutor. Her work, known for its meticulous precision and deep symbolism, has been featured in both private and public collections throughout New Zealand.
She began her career as a teenager at a professional photographic printing laboratory in Auckland, pre-computers and Photoshop, where seamless artwork was manually implemented to alter images. Her early career took her to America where she specialised in retouching portrait photographs for exhibitions. The importance of flawlessly altering prints later led to the development of her photo-realism.

Throughout her career Kerridge has worked in a variety of genres including Cubism, Impressionism, and landscape painting. She spent time in Florence studying portraiture in the sight size technique of John Singer Sargent. Of the many areas she has delved into, still life continues to resonate and return to her oeuvre.

Painting in both acrylics and oils, Helen is well known for her photo-realism work. She also creates imaginative still life pieces inspired by the Old Dutch Masters, featuring Kereru feasting on tables laden with produce

Gallery Representation

Muse Gallery, Havelock North

Instagram – @kerridgehelen

The Devil is in the Detail

2024, Acrylic on canvas, 1015 x 1525mm

The symbolic language of still life in art history can lead to many layers of meaning within a work. Here I have delved into this history to imbue allegory beyond the literal.

The table is overflowing with fresh produce, a Kereru wrestles with a blackbird over a crab taken from a plate as a crayfish attempts to escape the melee. The Blackbird with his alluring song and dark plumage is the symbol of the devil and he is seducing the Kereru (the New Zealander) with temptations of the flesh. Nothing is as it literally seems; food can work on a general level symbolising an abundance of riches, or on a specific level where each piece has its own distinct meaning. The fig is fertility but also can be used in place of the apple in the Garden of Eden, the fruit of temptation and sin. Peaches have been synonymous with more intimate regions of the body for centuries. Grapes are associated with Dionysius/Bacchus and debauched behaviour, the lemon the bitterness of life.

There are many signs that I have placed within this still life that allude to desire but ultimately I want it to be viewed as a playful excuse for my imagination to run wild.