Gabby's watercolours are intricate portrayals of blended cultures and beautiful objects. Locally grown fruit and flowers picked and bought near-by are rendered with warmth and intimacy, forming a conversation between the rarefied, patterned flora that decorates the Chinese ceramics and batik fabrics within her images.
Gabby studied ceramics at Otago Polytechnic School of Fine Art from 1984-86, before travelling through South East Asia and then moving to London in the 1990s. Gabby's love of colour has endured, and her ceramicist background is evident in her use of pattern in her works. Gabby's negation of depth through the use of pattern means that it is often easy to imagine many of her works adorning a beautiful vase or bowl. Gabby has been working chiefly in watercolour and ink since 1988.
Gabby Malpas is a New Zealand/Australian/British citizen of Chinese descent, she was adopted and raised by a New Zealand family as a baby in Auckland and is now based in Sydney. Gabby began to recognise her Chinese heritage appearing in her art while at Otago, New Zealand. After meeting her birth-mother in 2004, her painting has evolved into a very recognisable Chinese style.
In this series of works, Gabby has melded Chinese representational traditions with batik patterns, and birds and fruit from her life in New Zealand, England and Australia.