Articles and Reviews


“Wanganui Artist Sandra-Jane Kupiec will hold her first official exhibition in the vault at Fran’s Gifts and Books in Taihape in March.


Mrs Kupiec, who has already sold some of her work in Wellington will be showing a collection of watercolour and wash paintings as well as ink drawings. An additional feature will be the individually handpainted cards which match her works.

A keen poetry writer, she also likes to incorporate some of her poems in her paintings and a selection of these will be on show also…

The exhibition which opens with wine and cheese tonight, will continue throughout March” – Wanganui Chronicle 1992

Spilt Paint Started Artist on New Path

By Tula Stephenson

Artist Sandra Jane Kupiec is finding the tiny settlement of Mangamahu an ideal place in which to develop her new found talents.

From the small cottage, which she shares with her husband Joachim, she is able to pursue a self sufficient lifestyle as well as concentrate on her chosen craft.

For Mrs Kupiec it is the continuation of a learning experience which began in Europe.

While in London she had taken up writing up poetry in order to express her feelings. However it was some time after her return to New Zealand that she discovered that painting was a n equally rewarding medium.

And all that happened by chance, Mrs Kupiec is careful to explain. For almost a year she had busied herself with painting individual greeting cards. The decision to move to something bigger arose from the accidental spilling of her pots of paint.

What has emerged from that one small incident are a selection of watercolour washes, some of which have been sold to galleries in Wellington. A further 19 are currently being exhibited in Taihape.
The paintings which feature vibrant colours and swirling brush strokes all reflect the changing mood of the artist as she explores her inner self and the world in which she lives.


Some of her works also incorporate her poems. One of these had its beginnings as she travelled through the magnificent countryside of Yugoslavia. It was written as a release from the raw and sombre environment she had come to know while working in Greece. Sadly Mrs Kupiec recalls what has happened to Yugoslavia since that time and wonders just how much of that natural beauty remains.

Other more detailed works in ink and watercolour question the roles that men and women play in today’s world.
In ‘Garden of Thyself’ she profiles a woman’s face but concentrates on the energy which lies within. But may questions remain unanswered as on ponders at the significance of the burning candle or the rows of bricks contained inside her body.

Another conscious attempt to question man’s actions is entitled ‘Earth’s Tales’. Her Mrs Kupiec is for the plight of the

whale and she makes a plea for man to give the whale a chance.
These more detailed pictures as well as her watercolours are always done within a day, Mrs Kupiec said. But unlike many other artists she does not tie herself to a strict schedule…

With so much happening in her world it’s hardly surprising that Mrs Kupiec finds rainy days the best time to let her ideas flow.
At this stage in her life she is not driven to produce but has the time to explore and develop her talents in her chosen medium.
What has evolved to date are a selection of vibrant works which offer a welcome panacea for those rainy day blues.


article-look-north-custom“Artist Sandra Jane Kupiec with The Lovers, an oil on board painting included in her exhibition opening at Fraser Mckenzie Gallery in Paihia on July 27…

After leaving high school – where she won a scholarship to study French in Tahiti – Sandra lived in London and the south of France, where she received tuition in several art media.

She said a long, hot summer on the island of Rhodes and subsequent travels in mainland Greece had a great influence on her painting.

Sandra Jane’s Moon Spell exhibition at Paihia includes a selection of works from her successful Kunst and Liebe (Art and Love) series of small oil paintings.” – Look North 28 July 1995


Treasure trove of talent on show

The Trove gallery at Kerikeri recently supported Sandra Jane Kupiec with an exhibition of 38 paintings, most of which were produced after a fire destroyed her husband’s workshop about 12 months ago.

The building contained all of Sandra Jane’s work in progress and tools and materials her husband Joachim uses to frame the work and for his cabinet making business.

Trove manager Jan Fraser-McKenzie said the fire had a strong affect on Sandra Jane’s work, and noted the “tremendous impact on the senses” in the work, praising the colour, technical application and composition.

Sandra Jane Kupie’s oil paintings will show at Whangarei’s Reyburn House (once renovations there are completed) and Soliloquy Gallery, Mt Eden (March).

The Trove has retained eight of Sandra Janes works. – Northern News, March 12, 1998

Paintings bustle to happy beat

By Stefan Tengblad

The Marina Gallery in the Town Basin is presenting an exhibition of oils by Sandra Jane Kupiec. Sandra Jane Kupiec’s works are being exhibited under the title Wandering Spirit (In a Big Sky) and presumably this refers to the inspiration behind many of the works which seem to be drawn from various parts of the globe and indeed the galaxy.

Overall these oils are not only colourful but also exude an immense joy. There is a lot of activity in these paintings and the apparent happiness in them comes about through the jostle and bustle of little creatures going about the business of living.

In the case of Phoenix Rising this is the business of reliving albeit not the past but a bright new future according to the gold sheen of the bird’s body and the rough contortioned frame of the work. Like a camera lens automatically adjusting to the ambient amount of light, Kupiec’s colour palette reacts to its subject’s moods.

Afrika for instance shows the appropriate deep earthy tones without however lowering the intensity of the colours. Latin Dancer becomes almost electric as the agitated carnivalesque figure in the middle shakes his torso under a glittering vest.

Of  the larger works, and it would be fair to say the loveliest are the small ones, Love They Earth Set Her Free carries considerable weight in artistic terms despite a seemingly heavy emotional charge threatening to take over from formal considerations.

It is unclear if it is because the focus of the work is aimed at the outer space realm that The Planetary Circle and Return Into the Kosmic Kingdom are murkier than others. They are also less painterly and resemble arithmetical scribblings that have been coloured in by an irritable mind whose patience had run out when dealing with science fiction stuff.

However with small works like Here Lies A Space Kupiec provides a firm understanding of earthly pleasures conveyed by a multitude of quintessential shapes locked into a sprightly ballet like embrace. Like a heart burning with desire with little scroll in Joy, another scantily proportioned work, beams forth from its heavy wooden frame with much glee and passion, and would it not be for its size the painting would make a wonderful backdrop to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. – Northern Advocate, July 4th 1998

Whangaroa artist paints her dreams onto canvas

By Malcolm McMillan

Sandra-Jane Kupiec dreams what she’s going to paint. “I wouldn’t want people to think I’m a weird” she laughs, “but I’m having a good run at the moment”.

The Whangaroa-based artist has found considerable success since moving from Wanganui four years ago. With no formal training to her name, she is holding her tenth exhibition later this month. Sandra-Jane paints from an artistic hilltop cottage she shares with her German-born husband Joachim and two children, 5 year old Joshua and rising 3 year old Saskia.

The whole house acts as a studio and is adorned with her bold and vibrant work, framed by Joachim. photo1The pair originally bought the boatyard between Kaeo and Whangaroa. Joachim designs and builds European-Style solid timber furniture and kitchens. The boatyard was to double as a studio and factory. But a mysterious fire on Christmas Day in 1996 razed the building. Sandra-Jane lost all her paintings except for two miniatures entitled Liebe (love). “Our neighbours were marvellous,” Sandra-Jane says.” We were lent a massive shed free of charge for a year.” Now, a brand new shed sits on the site of the old one, serving as a furniture factory and retail outlet for the paintings.

“Since the fire, I’m really satisfied with my painting,” says Sandra-Jane whose colourful abstracts in oil sell from $5 for hand painted greeting cards to $3 800, for her largest canvasses. There are a number of commissions on the go, including one titled ‘Aquilla One’ for a firm of lawyers in England. A collector in Bonn, Germany already owns seven of her pictures. Sandra-Jane’s latest expressionist technique combines brush and palette, which brings out the subject of her pictures in a kind of mosaic.

A new exhibition opens in Kerikeri on October 23 for three weeks at The Trove, Orange Centre on SH10. The exhibition will feature a number of new canvasses including the Four Seasons and Aphrodite. “I am lucky to be able to do what I love. It’s very satisfying,” Sandra-Jane says as she gets ready for more dreamtime. – Northern News 15 October 1998


Colour livens up at Ngatipa exhibition

Artist Denise Corden and her son Cash pictured with some of the lively visuals on show at Ngatipa Gallery last week. Denise and fellow artist Sandra-Jane Kupiec injected colour and cheer with colour, texture and a sense of joy the outstanding features of their joint exhibition “Indigenous Souls” at Ngatipa Gallery in Kerikeri Road. The exhibition of mixed media works ran from September 14 to 23. – The Chronicle, September 29, 2001


Heaven and Earth in Kaeo

“Bohemian Picnic” is a gallery in a most unlikely place. Wainui Bay Road (which happens to be the main road off which I live) is not exactly at the centre of things, and Sandra-Jane Kupiec has done a brave thing by opening her gallery there.

Ms Kupiec is hosting an exhibition opening this week which features her own work and that of John Puckey and Denise Corden as well as acrylic and oil works by R. G. Shaw of Hamilton. Fancy a day out at Whangaroa? Stop off and see what’s on offer from December 1 to 15. – Larry Jenkins, Bay Chronicle November 2002

Bohemian picnic and something fishylarry-custom3

Sandra-jane Kupiec’s Bohemian Picnic Gallery, in Wainui Bay Road, Whangaroa, upholds one of the oldest traditions, that of art displayed in the home. I remember visiting the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, in the Netherlands, some years ago and being enchanted to see paintings displayed, not in a sterile museum setting, but in an actual artist’s home. The effect was totally gratifying. You could sit in a room with a painting as a companion, get up close to it and almost smell it. At Bohemian Picnic you are even invited to view in the loo.

sandra2-2002-custom1Ms Kupiec’s paintings come from the id, that is to say she dreams them, and, upon waking, translates them to her surfaces, be that wood or canvas, or, in a couple of cases, more unusual materials. This very Jungian process smacks of Mozart’s way of working, but it also limits both her palette and style. Naturally, there is a great deal of the spiritual about them, borrowing as they do, themes from Greek mythology, The Bible, and some other religious sources. They are wildly colourful. She’s certainly a restless dreamer. – Arts on a Wednesday by Larry Jenkins, Northern News, December 4, 2002


Exhibitions flourish in far flung places

The newly-formed Whangaroa United Artists Group opened a show at Bohemian Picnic Gallery in Wainui Bay Road, Whangaroa on January 11th, which revealed some hitherto unknown talent. Jan Tagart’s engaging pots, Eva Englings stunning ceramic sculpture , Lee Brogan’s lovely paintings and Sandra-Jane Kupiec’s wild, untamed canvases were all crowded into a rather cramped space, but each arrests the onlooker in different ways. – Arts on a Wednesday by Larry Jenkins, Northern News, January 14, 2004


Vibrant – Sandra Jane exhibits

I caught up with Sandra Jane recently at her new Store Gallery located at The Gourmet Grocer at Redwoods State Highway 10, Kerikeri.

Sandra Jane came to Northland in 1994 from Mangamahu near Wanganui. Her decision to become an artist and paint happened in 1990 when the food colouring she was using to dye candles spilled onto her porch floor. As she watched the puddle flow and colour the surface she had an epiphany, painting was to become her life.

Sandra Jane works in oil – her paintings are strong, vibrant and texturally full of emotion and often controversial. Self taught and influenced by Von Stuck, Clairmont, Modigliani, Plath and a large and varied collection of ancient text, scripture and song, she enjoys the extremes of sentiment creating rich tapestries weaving paint and prose into temptation.

Her works are highly sought after in New Zealand and abroad. Her recent works will be on show at Kaan Zamaan, Kerikeri where she is teaming up with gallery owner and fellow artist Julia Reinholt in a joint exhibition titled Same Difference. I have been privileged to preview some of their works and have no doubt this will be an exciting show. The opening and preview is this Friday from 4pm to 6pm. – Mike Nettmann, Northern News, 13 August 2009

ARTISTIC JOURNEYS: Julia Reinholt and Sandra Jane Suleski.

ARTISTIC JOURNEYS: Julia Reinholt and Sandra Jane Suleski.

Same Difference at Kaan Zamaan

A unique exhibition of a highly individual look at topical issues, by Julia Reinholt – her debut into the art world – and Sandra Jane Suleski.

This exhibition will move you, make you think and hopefully provoke dialogue.

Both artists’ work is dynamic yet providing a safe field in which the viewer can roam, all the while presenting a challenge to look beyond the sublimity of the paintings and question what lies at their heart.

Julia and Sandra’s work constitute artistic journeys into the recesses of their own psyche – visceral and cerebral, explosively energetic and pensive.

The paintings have an assertive physical presence and work well together within the gallery space conveying a concentrated sense of intensity and passion. Bravo! – Mike Nettmann, Northern News, 20 August 2009


Sandra- Jane Suleski at Kaan Zamaan

Love Icon is Sandra-Jane’s first solo exhibition in 10 years. Nineteen new oil paintings, each one a multi-faceted jewel, encompass strong images of love as seen through the eyes of the artist. Presented as icons, the works represent emotional and poignant stigmas of our time, exploring the realms of art, religion, literature, mythology and fantasy. Colour dances energetically around and over female fiqures with verse creating an emotional web throughout each painting connecting the viewer to a myriad of symbols and imagery.

Experience a fascinating journey and visit this exhibition. – Mike Nettmann, Northern News, 13 May 2010