Raemon Rolfe and David Lupton

Taylor-Jensen Fine Arts is hosting a unique pairing of two local artists; The Infinite Smallness of Being features paintings by Raemon Rolfe and photography by David Lupton.  Both well-known artists working in different media but sharing a vision, Rolfe and Lupton have combined to present an exhibition celebrating the small and often unseen elements which make up our universe. Raemon Rolfe will exhibit seven small diptychs produced using oil paint mixed with wax medium and incorporating particles of materials such as sand, ash and marble dust to build up textures as well as adding meaning to the works. David Lupton will show thirteen works printed in black and white: three A2, nine A3 and one approximately A5. The photographs were printed with a pigment printer on Ilford Gold Fibre Silk photographic paper. They are strictly one-off images not an edition as the work is part of an ongoing collaborative project David is working on with a Brazilian poet and author. The images in the exhibition are essentially publication ‘proofs’ and each bears as its title the title of a poem it will illustrate in a future publication.

The Infinite Smallness of Being is best explained by the artists themselves in the paragraphs that follow. The exhibition will open on Friday evening 13th July from 5-7pm at Taylor-Jensen Fine Arts, 33 George Street, Palmerston North. The public is cordially invited to view the exhibition, meet the artists and celebrate the pairing over drinks and nibbles. The exhibition will continue through the 1st of August.

“The processes that occur in the universe at the smallest end of the scale have been a continuing source of inspiration for me” writes Raemon Rolfe. “In his book of poems ‘On the Nature of Things’, Lucretius, Roman poet and philosopher (96?-55BC) wrote that ‘nature ever by unseen processes works’. He was referring to the theories of the ancient Greek atomists 500 years before that, who believed that all matter was made of atoms or indivisible particles. In modern particle physics, the uncertain world of quantum mechanics explains how all matter and energy in the universe behaves on an atomic and subatomic level.

“The idea that we are made up of atoms and that those atoms have consciousness and curiosity so that we can wonder about our place in the universe, is the theme of the series of seven small diptychs. The poem ‘An Atom in the Universe’ by theoretical physicist Richard Feynman was the inspiration.”

David Lupton says “I have been thinking a lot about a part of a poem by my friend Adriana Lisboa, it’s not the complete poem, it is the half that keeps floating around like a seductive cloud in a darkening sky that I cannot stop looking at. It’s a challenge to fill emptiness with the universal while trying to describe the near nothingness of simple things. How to see what is invisible at the same time and capture both in a fraction of a second. These photographs are the start of that journey, the journey of exploring these two realms of the real.

Portion of a poem by Adriana Lisboa, translated from the Portuguese by Alison Entrekin:

In the quietest place in the world

There’s a rustling of life

Man is made of blood and neurons

Which sing their own song

            Without sheet music or I Ching

There’s no such thing as silence

Form is emptiness

Emptiness is form

And it all fits into

            Four minutes and thirty




An Atom in the Universe’ by Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988) was the inspiration for Raemon’s work in this exhibition:


There are the rushing waves, mountains of molecules 
Each stupidly minding its own business

Trillions apart yet forming white surf in unison. 

Ages on ages, before any eyes could see
Year after year thunderously pounding the shore as now.
For whom, for what?
On a dead planet, with no life to entertain.

Never at rest, tortured by energy
Wasted prodigiously by the sun, poured into space
A mite makes the sea roar.

Deep in the sea all molecules repeat the patterns

Of one another till complex new ones are formed.
They make others like themselves
And a new dance starts.

Growing in size and complexity
Living things, masses of atoms, DNA, protein
Dancing a pattern ever more intricate.

Out of the cradle onto dry land
Here it is standing
Atoms with consciousness, matter with curiosity.
Stands at the sea, wonders at wondering:

I, a universe of atoms
an atom in the universe


Rolfe’s brief biography states: “I’m self-taught contemporary artist. Being an artist was not seen as a viable career option in the 1960s so after graduating in geography in 1969, I entered teaching in 1970. Creativity, however, was an important part of our family life; my father was a draftsman and engineer, my mother drew and painted, and I learnt to draw and paint from an early age. Various summer school workshops were inspirational and I have continued to explore oil painting procedures and techniques and have had regular exhibitions since the late 1960s. In 1985 I joined the art department at Palmerston North Girls’ High School. Twenty-five years of art teaching and practice across a wide range of disciplines including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, digital art and art history have given me a versatility of form and medium, and my studies in geography, the sciences and philosophy are a continuing source of inspiration.”


David Lupton is a well-known Palmerston North photographer whose most recent general audience publication was Between the Rivers: The Manawatu co-authored with Bettina Anderson in 2012. Lupton is also the co-owner with Ms Anderson of Hau Nui Press, a boutique publishing company based in the Manawatu. In 1995, The Palmerston North Public Library published Lupton’s Everybody’s Somebody, a book of intimate portraits of Manawatu persona based on his 1993 exhibition of the same title.


Other Upcoming Exhibitions.

Previous Exhibitions.

The Mountains and the Sea
By: Paul Lyons
- 22 Mar 19

RETRO - SPECTIVE: Cash & Carry Sale of Silkscreen Prints
By: Malcolm Warr
- 22 Feb 19

SUMMER FLIGHT: New Zealand Birds and Landscapes
By: Jayeta Valentine
- 25 Jan 19

By: Michele Theobald & Val Jones
- 30 Nov 18

By: Te Wananga o Aotearoa Graduate Weavers 2018
- 12 Nov 18

By: Rachael Smith
- 26 Oct 18

“Licorice All Sorts”
By: Georgia Lambert
- 11 Oct 18

The Art Room (Term 3)
By: Manawatu Art Teachers Association
- 24 Sep 18

By: Willie Docherty
- 25 Aug 18

“A Bouquet of Paintings”
By: Mary Mulholland
- 03 Aug 18

The Infinite Smallness of Being
By: Raemon Rolfe and David Lupton
- 13 Jul 18

Land & Water
By: Timon Maxey
- 22 Jun 18

By: Don Hill & Steve Leurink
- 01 Jun 18

By: New Paintings by Ross Whitlock
- 07 Apr 18

By: Roger Staples
- 02 Mar 18

A Family Affair
By: Colin Hoare and sons James and Alex
- 02 Feb 18

By: Vivian McKenna
- 12 Jan 18

Echoes Of Fiordland
By: Annabel Neall
- 12 Dec 17

By: Te Wananga o Aotearoa Graduate Weavers 2017
- 13 Nov 17

By: Sue Weterings
- 20 Oct 17

IRIS: Photography Exhibition
By: 2017 Epsom/NZIPP Award Winners
- 06 Oct 17

Land and Water
By: Jacky Pearson
- 08 Sep 17

Moments of Transcendent Beauty
By: Paul Lyons
- 11 Aug 17

“Exploring the Intersection Between Detail and Suggestion”
By: John Tidball
- 15 Jul 17

‘The Spaces Between’
By: Anne Morris
- 17 Jun 17

‘The Primacy of Gesture’
By: Ross Whitlock
- 12 May 17

By: Alfred Memelink
- 23 Mar 17

By: Vivian McKenna
- 03 Mar 17

Across the Ditch
By: Australian and New Zealand Print Artists
- 04 Feb 17

“GIVEN TIME AND SPACE” Abstracted Imagery
By: Colin Hoare
- 06 Jan 17

By: Watercolours by Celia Guy
- 03 Dec 16

E Toru nga Mea
By: Weaving and Carving Graduates Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Papaio
- 14 Nov 16

Dot's Nice
By: Elka
- 21 Oct 16

Colour Blast: Work That Jump Off the Canvas
By: Boyd-Dunlop
- 10 Sep 16

Heart Standing Still
By: Rachael Smith
- 30 Sep 16

SAMPLING: Paintings by Jayson Rollon & WARMING BODY & SOUL: Caohagan Island Quilts
By: Jayson Rollon & WARMING BODY & SOUL
- 25 Jul 16

Head for the Coast New Work
By: Beth Charles & Robert Charles
- 11 Mar 16

Extraordinary Art: Paintings
By: Paula Novak
- 12 Feb 16

Window to the Falling Sun: Paintings
By: Annabel Neall
- 04 Dec 15

By: Paul Lyons
- 14 Nov 15

An exhibition of Maori Art - Maunga Kura Toi degree artists of Te Wananga o Aotearoa
By: Te Koru
- 03 Nov 15

Country to Coast
By: Nicholas Hayter
- 11 Oct 15

Anything Goes: Annual Exhibition
By: Manawatu Spinners and Weavers Guild
- 28 Sep 15

By: Dennis Greenwood
- 15 Sep 15

"Soul Is Eternal":
By: Wayne Hansen
- 29 Aug 15