Painter Star Gossage (Ngāti Wai/Ngāti Ruanui) draws her inspiration from the ancestral land in Pākiri, north of Auckland, where she lives surrounded by whānau. She paints enigmatic figures in shifting landscapes that explore emotion and memory, journeys of loss and endurance, and relationships with immediate whānau and tūpuna.
Rather than setting out to depict reality, Star invites the viewer into her inner world. The paintings selected for Pātaka’s exhibition explore her thoughts on the interconnectedness of humanity, past and present, and the ancestral land she inhabits.
The artist’s muted colour palette reflects the natural world around her, often literally. Her paints can contain fish oils, burnt kauri gum, clay, lime, and earth pigments mixed in with more traditional materials.
Distinctions between the land and figures often become blurred. While Star’s female figures may reference herself, her whanau, and the spiritual essence of wāhinetanga; individual identities remain elusive, “They’re not of anyone in particular; they represent something more universal,” she says.
Star Gossage completed a Diploma of Fine Arts at Otago Polytechnic in 1995, a pursuit that was influenced by her parents, Peter and Tilly Gossage, both artists. Star has also explored film, theatre and poetry as a part of her creative practice.
She has exhibited regularly throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and increasingly internationally since the early 2000s. In 2014, following the ground-breaking and critically acclaimed exhibition Five Māori Painters at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, she was recognised as one of the most important Māori artists of her generation.