Exhibition celebrates Jack Register’s love of landscapes



Photo: Dianne Register-Stout in Mahara Gallery with her father’s painting, Eastbourne and an image of the artist painting, as he liked to do, en plein air.


An exhibition in the Gallery of mostly Wellington landscapes celebrates the life of Palmerston North artist Jack Register, who, in the words of his daughter, Dianne Register-Stout, had a life-long passion for the land and its people.


Titled Capital Views, it is the first exhibition of the artist’s work since he died in 2018. Sixteen works are on display, all from the collection left to his daughter.

“The exhibition showcases my father’s love of the Wellington region through his eyes,” says Dianne Register-Stout. “From the ‘magical’ Tararuas that he tramped as a teenager to the rivers and beaches, to the bustle and excitement of Wellington Streets, Jack loved it all.”

She says she is excited to see the works hung, and wants people who knew and loved Jack Register to visit the exhibition, remember him and enjoy his work again.

In a past interview with the Manawatu Standard, Jack Register said he had learned a great deal about painting, and in particular, colour mixing, during his apprenticeship as a house painter.

“The colour and the brushing skills came from when I was 15 swishing paint around,” he told the paper. “Colour mixing is part of the job but it was never a worry because I had a good colour eye.”

He was born into a family who supported his passion for art. His father Basil, an artist himself and a member of the NZ Academy of Fine Arts from 1950, nurtured his son’s artistic talents.  From an early age, the father and son painted at opposite ends of the kitchen table.

A set of oil paints, bought for him by his wife in 1970, reaffirmed his passion for art. He was a prolific painter over the next forty years, much of his work landscapes of Manawatū, Horowhenua, Rangitīkei and Wellington.

His work won a number of awards in his earlier years but later he chose not to enter competitions because he said people would get annoyed with him winning.

Jack Register liked to paint en plein air, meaning outside the studio in the natural environment. Dianne Register-Stout says he had a reputation for putting his easel up anywhere, on the side of a street or on the beach, and painting what he saw.
“There were no airs with Jack, only an absolute life-long passion for the land and its people and capturing what he saw. Painting, he said was his ‘visual poetry.’”

While he admired his father, whose artist approach was based on realism, Jack Register saw art differently.
“I wanted to go down the contemporary road,” said. “With detail, you may look at it and think 'oh that's lovely' but after a few days there is nothing left.

There is no magic coming out."

Jack Register was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal in 2008 for services to art and music,
Capital Views will be on exhibition in Mahara Gallery’s newSPACE until 27 June.