Alfred Memelink is a New Zealand artist who is becoming particularly well known for his streetscape and seascape paintings, especially of the Wellington region.
He is largely a self taught artist, having taught himself whilst working at sea as a marine engineer. During the long sea voyages, he often painted the scenes that drifted past his porthole or the exotic ports that his ships visited.
With many seagoing adventures now behind him, Alfred now only works part time at sea to allow him to pursue his deep passion for art more fully. (He can still be found from time to time though filling in as engineer on the little red tug boats darting across the harbour). His special affinity for Wellington, its harbour together with his first hand knowledge of ships and the sea, has provided him with a very special approach to his art. As a subtle symbol of his connection with the sea, one will always find a seagull somewhere in a painting. (aside from the albatross the flies under his signature). Alfred’s ability of conveying to the viewer his excitement found in the scenes portrayed, is resulting in a strong local following and is also winning him international recognition. His work is characterised by interesting perspectives with tangible moods and an expressive use of colour.
Alfred is at one with the watercolour medium in particular but he also enjoys pushing the boundaries of art in other areas such as 3D crafts and by further developing his unique collage style artworks. He also finds other means of creative expression through his photography and through music as a Jazz saxophonist. He is a long standing committee member of Watercolour New Zealand’ and is currently serving his second year as president. He has been a council member of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts for several years and was elected as artist member in 2004.
Alfred welcomes visits to his Petone studio gallery,- it makes him attempt to clean it up he claims.
My current phase in painting ties in closely with my love of the sea, inspiration gained from a recent adventure to Antarctica and my passion for painting everyday scenes of Wellington (yes even in winter). Planning has now moved into top gear for my next major solo exhibition due to open September 19th and titled,- wait for it, - ‘A Summer in Antarctica and Winter In Wellington’
The wonder and grandeur of Antarctica, light and the huge Ross Sea ice sculpture garden in particular just called out to be painted in watercolours. To experience this unique wilderness together with it’s extreme conditions was certainly a privilege and adventure never to be forgotten and one I have really enjoyed painting.
Why paint a city in winter you may well ask, I find there is just something magical about city life in winter. When it rains and a southerly blows, ones usual mind set is to dash to wherever one needs to be with the challenge to be outside for the least time possible. Thus in the hurry, with heads bent low or hiding under colourful and blown out umbrellas, an amazing light and colour show often gets missed. Winter is a time when the city comes alive in a vibrant and exciting new way. Rain transforms streets into huge mirrors, reflecting the kaleidoscope of colours which hang over them. Winter also brings dramatic southerly gales which lash the wild coast in between flat calm days which turn the harbour into a mill pond. On fine days, winter light with its strong contrasts and long shadow patterns cast an amazing ambience around the city.
In my view there is no better way to capture these effects than with watercolours. The fluidity, wetness, luminosity and spontaneity of watercolours lend themselves beautifully to these favourite subjects. One thing unique about watercolours is that this medium doesn’t use white paint but instead relies on the actual white of the paper to shine through transparent colour washes for glowing colours. One other fact I enjoy is the challenge that this temperamental medium offers an artist.
With my paintings I aim to create a unique experience for the viewer by presenting them with scenes they can easily relate to, to provide viewers with the sensation of being there.
Where to find his work
Galleries – Where to find Alfred’s Work.
In Wellington City, Alfred is represented by the Millwood Gallery, a delightful little gallery situated in the heart of the historical Thorndon precinct. Be sure to ask Murray or Erin directions to Glenbervie Terrace and Ascot street, two cute little historic lane walks that peacefully meander right behind their gallery. Alfred is also a regular exhibitor with the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and with Watercolour New Zealand at Shed 11, both in the Queens Wharf area.
If you are heading past Kapiti, be sure to drop into the friendly McGregor Wrights Gallery. It is very easy to find – right on the corner of Raumati Road an state Highway 1and with easy parking beside gallery. Your hosts Nancy and Gordon will be delighted to meet you and show you around their wonderful gallery.
In Auckland Alfred is represented by the Monterey gallery, a popular gallery located in Howick.
However possibly Alfred’s most interesting and much talked about venues of where one can see his art is Gallery Cesso, A small room located at the back of Nicolini’s Italian restaurant, Courtenay place. On display there is just one large painting of Kelburn village which can be conveniently viewed sitting down.