Alfred Cove artist proves you’re never too old with first exhibition at 91


Ruth Costello. Picture: Will Russell
Ruth Costello. Picture: Will Russell

NINETY-one year-old artist Ruth Costello will hold her first solo exhibition, featuring 45 vibrant abstract oil paintings and collages.

Dubbed Introspective Retrospective, the exhibition mostly features works completed in Australia since 1992 after she left New Zealand following the death of her husband.

The Kardinya resident says colour is her motivation in art.

Costello spent a term studying the topic with mentor Helene Merriman, who will open her exhibition.

“She has studied under many respected artists over the years and gradually realised that her inner thoughts and experiences were also captured and expressed in her work, thus the title ‘Introspective’ exactly fitted her painting experiences,” Merriman said.

“I’m quoting one of my New Zealand lecturers, but once you start an abstract painting with colour, the painting talks to you,” Costello told the Melville Times on Wednesday.

She grew up in Central Otago and did her nursing training Dunedin where she lived until she retired in her 60s, completing night art classes and workshops in her spare time.

“I was so interested in art that I joined the Melville Community Arts Association to meet people and establish the art scene in Australia,” Costello said.

Her fellow painters have been dear friends and she continues to enjoy the social benefits of gathering to paint in Alfred Cove each Friday.

Costello won an award this month from the Association, where she is a life member, for the best contemporary painting.

Atwell Arts Centre and Gallery coordinator Chris Marshall said Costello had been an inspiration for all with her enthusiasm, vitality and creativity.

“It is marvellous how she still paints with such innovation and skill,” Mr Marshall said.

The exhibition will open at the Atwell Arts Centre and Gallery, 586 Canning Highway in Alfred Cove, on Tuesday, August 30 at 7pm.

The gallery opens 10am to 4pm daily and the exhibition will continue until Sunday, September 4.