A Painting by JS Parker
A River of Inspiration
A Gallery of Fine Art
The Story of ‘The Diversion’
The Diversion began as a commission of a painting by leading NZ abstract painter JS (John Shotton) Parker. In 1995, entrepreneur Nick Gerritsen gave Parker an open brief to create a painting capturing the essence of Marlborough. JS Parker chose to paint the offshoot of the Wairau River known to locals as ‘The Diversion’, reflecting the turbulent light of a stormy sunrise as the river runs out to Cloudy Bay on the Pacific Coast.
The Wairau River is Marlborough’s lifeblood, nurtures the abundant crops and its wines including the world-famous Sauvignon Blanc. It’s also one of JS Parker’s favourite places – for trout fishing, and to be inspired by the light on the water, the dramatic seasonal contrasts of rock, earth and trees, and the extraordinary skies over the river.
I took over an existing gallery at Grove Mill Winery in late 1999, renaming it after the painting, the nearby river, and the concept of seeking out the road less travelled. The focus was to bring to Marlborough exhibitions of leading New Zealand artists, who could otherwise only be seen by locals travelling long distances to other centres.
In 2011 an opportunity arose to relocate the gallery to a superb waterfront location in Picton, a charming but dynamic harbour town on the edge of the spectacular Marlborough Sounds, the South Island hub for the Interisland ferries.
One of New Zealand’s leading collectible painters, JS Parker (ONZM) is celebrated for his ability to capture the essence of this country’s landscape and light. He bypasses the figurative to express his response to the distinctive colours of land, sky and pure light within a grid format, playing with harmony and balance of texture and colour. (Read more about JS Parker and view his works)
The painting still hangs in the home I share with Nick Gerritsen. Reproduction never does justice to its heavy impasto surface and rich colours, but I hope it gives you some sense of our journey and love for art and this extraordinary region of Marlborough.
The Diversion Gallery