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Strictly Personal - Art by Serena Deane and Rob Haakman

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Strictly Personal - Art by Serena Deane and Rob Haakman

Strictly Personal - Art by Serena Deane and Rob Haakman

The public is cordially invited to attend the opening reception to meet the artists, view and purchase artwork on Friday 16th August from 5-7pm at Taylor-Jensen Fine Arts, 33 George Street, Palmerston North

As Taylor-Jensen Fine Arts celebrates its 22nd year of providing a unique exhibition space for local and regional artists and a second-to-none regional art gallery for art patrons especially for those who support locally produced art, a new era begins.

The founders, Stuart and Phyllis Schwartz, wishing to retire will shortly turn the gallery over to managers who if all goes well will become owners in six months time.

To celebrate this fantastic news which means the gallery has at least another 6 months to showcase art and hopefully another 22 years and more, the new gallery directors, Rob Haakman and Feona Sayles present the work of Rob Haakman and Serena Deane.

Strictly Personal - Art by Serena Deane and Rob Haakman will commence on Friday 16th August with a reception to honour the artists. The exhibition will continue through to 7th September. Friday evening 16th August will also provide an opportunity to meet Feona and Rob and share your enthusiasm for their giving the gallery an extended life and a gallery operation that promises to be full of surprises for both new and regular gallery goers.

Serena Deane is a young New Zealand artist who likes to focus on painting things that bring her joy while capturing their image in her artwork. She says "I found my style last year (2018) while attending UCOL (Palmerston North). I love the vibes of pastel colours heavily contrasting with dark line work".

Often using herself as a model when the figure of a person is required in her drawing or painting, Serena has advanced her abilities through self-depiction and continued study.

I've been doing art for about four years and hope to achieve a full-time career centred around my artwork in the not too distant future. For now I’m happy just making people stop to look at my work and perhaps proclaim ‘Hot Damn!’ when they see it.”  Strictly Personal is Serena’s first exhibition in a dealer gallery. She hopes that the artwork on display will find favour with viewers and the art-buying public.

Rob Haakman was born in Palmerston North in 1970. He grew up drawing, reading, and admiring art, in a not-very-arty household, where nonetheless his birthday presents tended to be art supplies. He says: ”My earliest influences were comics: Footrot Flats, Asterix, 2000 AD and such, so no surprises my first artistic excursions were into linework which gave rise to co-producing ‘zines’ with a collaborator who in turn became my main musical co-conspirator.. In my teens I became enamoured of the modern art of the early 20th century, particularly Dada and Surrealism, the visual language of dreams.”

Rob’s first solo exhibition was of drawings in 1989 at a gallery in central Christchurch.  “A hiatus of exhibiting occurred thereafter, while I performed in rock bands, produced comics, toured, recorded, designed record covers and lived a generally dissolute life throughout my twenties. Since the early nineties I’ve featured on some twenty or so records and produced art for a dozen or more.”

“I found my way back into exhibiting in 2003, producing a body of multimedia work for a solo show at the former Thermostat Gallery in Palmerston North. More followed at the same gallery in the form of group and dual shows, sometimes with digital or multimedia work, sometimes ‘straight’ painting.

“In 2006 I and a few colleagues formed the Beer’n’Chicken Art Collective which has exhibited mainly at Square Edge. The collective has been deliberately inclusive and involved friends and family members of all shapes and sizes.

“Aside from a degree in English and Media Studies, I have no formal artistic qualifications beyond a diploma from Community Arts sometime in the late eighties. I seriously dislike the term ‘self-taught’ however, with its implication of naiveté, or ‘outsider art’. It’s easier than ever to learn art history and technique, and to develop an aesthetic which may be influenced and informed by other practitioners but remains unique.

My work is largely influenced by dream and myth, whether classical or pop culture, and the way in which we mythologize our own lives. My art in Strictly Personal falls in the latter category: daily life told in a fairly whimsical visual language.

Stuart Schwartz can be reached at 06 355 4278 or via email at

The public is always invited to view special exhibitions and other artworks held at Taylor-Jensen Fine Arts, 33 George Street, Palmerston North during gallery hours: Monday – Thursday, 10 to 5; Friday 10 to 6; and Saturday, 10 to 3. The Gallery is closed Sundays and statutory holidays except for special events.

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