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Article

Wystan Curnow

[Bates, Barrie]

(b Auckland, Jan 1, 1935).

New Zealand sculptor and conceptual artist. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s and first showed his work alongside that of fellow students such as David Hockney and Derek Boshier, helping to mark the emergence of British Pop art. The pseudonym that he adopted in 1962 reflected his obsession with different ways of representing fruit. On moving in 1964 to New York he began to produce neon versions of popular icons. In 1970 he established Apple as one of New York’s first artist-run ‘alternative’ art spaces.

The conceptual element in Apple’s early Pop work became dominant in the late 1960s and 1970s. From 1975 to 1980 he concentrated on the deconstruction of the ‘white cube’ gallery exhibition space, proposing alterations to or actually changing existing interiors, notably at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York (1977, 1978, 1980) and at a number of public galleries in New Zealand (...

Article

(b San Biagio di Callalta, nr Treviso, May 19, 1939; d Melbourne, Aug 9, 1978).

Australian sculptor and draughtsman . After spending his childhood in Italy, he moved to Australia (1949). From 1958 to 1961 he was at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He travelled to London in 1962, where he studied printmaking at the Chelsea School of Arts. He then travelled to Milan and studied sculpture under Marino Marini at the Accademia di Belle Arti. After his return to Melbourne, he had his first one-man show of sculptures and etchings at the Argus Gallery in 1964. Many of his etchings of this period and later included circus characters and were inspired by the films of Ingmar Bergman and Luis Buñuel. Bergman’s Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), for example, has the violent distortion of the human figure characteristic of Baldessin’s series Stars and Sawdust and Stars and Sawdust II (1963; T. Baldessin priv. col., see 1983 exh. cat., pl. 9). His early sculptures also had distorted and tormented figures, as in ...

Article

Carol Magee

(b Bulawayo, 1959).

Zimbabwean sculptor. Bickle studied at Durban University and Rhodes University. She showed extensively in Zimbabwe in the 1980s and exhibited in India, Sweden and New Zealand in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Active in the arts in Bulawayo, she was a founding member of its Visual Artists’ Association. Her pieces are philosophical, both specifically in that she cites Foucault and Yourcenar, and generically in that they comment on the human condition: on hopes, dreams, conflicts and fantasies. Made of multiple manufactured and natural materials, her simple forms speak to complex situations, as seen in A Carta de Gaspar Veloso I, in which writings on parchment are used in conjunction with maps to evoke colonial histories. Her work is in both private and public collections in the US, Britain and Europe.

Art from the Frontline: Contemporary Art from Southern Africa (Glasgow, 1990), p. 125 H. Lieros: ‘Earth, Water, Fire: Recent Works by Berry Bickle’, ...

Article

Susan Best

(b Sydney, Aug 8, 1919; d Sydney, April 19, 2005).

Australian sculptor, video, installation artist, and sound artist. Brassil received her initial art training at Sydney Teachers College, East Sydney Technical College, and Newcastle Technical College (1937–9). She taught art for 20 years at Campbelltown High School before commencing her exhibiting career in the early 1970s.

Brassil’s first recorded work is Trilogy: Twentieth Century Perception (1969–74; Sydney, U. W. Sydney). Trilogy is composed of three components: Sound Beyond Hearing (900×900×150 mm), Light Beyond Seeing (900×600×150 mm) and Memory Beyond Recall (1050×1050×150 mm). Unlike Brassil’s later works, these three components can be wall mounted. They are beautiful, highly finished, shallow black boxes, and two out of the three are electronic. Memory Beyond Recall has glowing lights veiled behind layers of paper that appear and then dim down and disappear. Light Beyond Seeing has a central lit portion that uses mirrors to suggest an infinitely deep space. The main themes of Brassil’s career—perception, sound, memory, and the transcendental realm—are all signalled in this early work....

Article

Richard Haese

[Michael] (Gordon Challis)

(b Sydney, May 8, 1938).

Australian painter and sculptor. He studied art at the East Sydney Technical College (1956–8) but left dissatisfied before completing the course. An important stage in his development was his discovery in 1959 of Australian Aboriginal art and the art of Melanesia and Polynesia, which he saw in New Zealand and on a visit to New Guinea in 1960 while working with the Australian Commonwealth Film Unit. In 1961–2 he lived in the Sydney suburb of Annandale with fellow artist Ross Crothall (b 1934) producing the first of his significant work. With Colin Lanceley the artists held two influential exhibitions in 1962 of painting, collages and assemblage, in Melbourne at the Museum of Modern Art and Design and in Sydney at the Rudy Komon Art Gallery, using the name Annandale Imitation Realists. They exploited discarded materials and disdained finish in a raw and irreverent art that mixed painting and sculpture, often collaborating on work. Imitation Realism was the first full expression of ...

Article

Robert Smith

(b Melbourne, Oct 4, 1913; d Melbourne, July 5, 1986).

Australian painter, printmaker, draughtsman, sculptor, cartoonist and illustrator. Largely self-taught, he began printmaking in 1931 and worked as a caricaturist, cartoonist and illustrator for the weekly and left-wing press, his outlook influenced by experience on the dole and political struggle during the Depression. In 1941 he began oil painting, his first pictures being mainly a celebration of Australian working-class tenacity during the 1930s: for example At the Start of the March (1944; Sydney, A.G. NSW). A founder-member of the Contemporary Art Society in 1938, he initiated its 1942 anti-Fascist exhibition and helped organize an Artists’ Unity Congress, receiving awards for his paintings of miners in the ensuing Australia at War exhibition in 1945. From 1939 to 1940 he was in New Zealand and from 1949 to 1952 in Europe, mostly London. Later he made frequent trips to Britain and France, as well as visiting the USSR and Mexico.

Counihan’s imaginative and creative versatility enabled him to produce extended pictorial metaphors for inherent contemporary crises, embodying potent artistic responses to specific conditions of oppression and discrimination, the nuclear threat and attendant social alienation. From the late 1960s he created images in numerous interrelated series challenging Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, for example ...

Article

(William Archibald)

(b Melbourne, Australia, May 1, 1914; d London, Dec 16, 1983).

English architect and sculptor. He studied at the University of Oxford (1932–5) and the Architectural Association, London (1935–40), and then served with the Royal Engineers in West Africa and Asia. In 1948 he set up in practice in London with Fello Atkinson (1919–82), Dick Maitland (1918–69) and Stefan Buzas (b 1913). From the outset Cubitt drew on his acquired knowledge of tropical countries, designing several schools and colleges in Ghana between 1951 and 1954. The practice rapidly gained a pioneering reputation in this field and, after designing some schools in Sowerby Bridge and Pontefract, Yorkshire (1954–7), it was appointed to plan the University of Nigeria at Nsukka, a project that was not completed until 1971. Other work in the 1950s and 1960s included a factory in Rangoon, office buildings in Sierra Leone and Nigeria and the Faculty of Medicine and Teaching Hospital (...

Article

Edward Hanfling

[William] (Franklin)

(b Port Chalmers, Jan 23, 1935).

New Zealand photographer, sculptor, installation artist, and painter, active also in France and Great Britain. Culbert consistently explored the workings of both natural and artificial light in his works, as well as the transformation of found objects and materials. A student at Hutt Valley High School, his artistic ability was fostered by the radical art educator James Coe. From 1953 to 1956, Culbert studied at the Canterbury University College School of Art in Christchurch. Moving to London in 1957 to attend the Royal College of Art, he became interested in the photographic works of László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, while his paintings were informed by Cubism. In 1961 Culbert moved to Croagnes in Provence, France; he remained in France and the UK for the rest of his career.

During 1967–8, Culbert shifted his focus from the analysis of form and light in painting to the analysis of actual light, often arranging light bulbs in grid formations. In ...

Article

Graeme Sturgeon

(Raymond)

(b Stanmore, NSW, Jan 18, 1908; d Sydney, Nov 7, 1986)

Australian sculptor and teacher. He studied at the Julian Ashton Art School (but was asked to leave), and at East Sydney Technical College. Dadswell claimed that his real training took place during his period (1929–35) as assistant to Paul Montford (1868–1938), then chief sculptor for the Shrine of Remembrance (Melbourne, south of the River Yarra). Here Dadswell undertook his first commission: 12 large relief panels depicting the activities of the Australian Imperial Forces during World War I. On the strength of this work he won a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy Schools, London (1935–6), returning to Australia in 1937 to take up an appointment as teacher of sculpture at the National Art School, Sydney.

Dadswell was wounded during war service in the Middle East (1941–2), his eyesight permanently impaired. Nevertheless, he resumed teaching in 1945, and, apart from one year spent travelling in the USA and Europe, he continued to teach in Sydney until his retirement in ...

Article

Jim Barr and Mary Barr

(b Christchurch, NZ, Nov 6, 1948).

New Zealand sculptor. After graduating from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1973, Dawson taught drawing systems at Christchurch Polytechnic. In 1978 an exhibition titled House Alterations at the Brooke Gifford Art Gallery in Christchurch established him as a sculptor. It introduced a number of characteristics that continued to be significant in his work: the sculptures were constructed from mesh, wire and wood, they were hung on the wall and they played with aspects of perception as mediated by systems of drawing. In 1984, now a full-time sculptor, he was commissioned to produce a large, permanent outdoor work, The Rock, for the Bank of New Zealand in Wellington; it was one of a series of permanent or temporary site-specific projects.

Dawson was included in the exhibition Magiciens de la terre held at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1989. For the exhibition he constructed Globe, a hollow, fibreglass representation of the earth as photographed from outer space. It was suspended above the plaza outside the museum. The translation of photographic sources into sculpture, which he explored for ...

Article

Edward Hanfling

(b Hastings, March 21, 1930; d New Plymouth, Dec 8, 2011).

New Zealand sculptor, painter, printmaker, and installation artist. His art primarily involves assemblage, often with an eye to colour relationships; it also incorporates diverse sources including American modernism, African, and Asian art. Driver had little formal training and worked as a dental technician before he began sculpting with wood, clay, and dental plaster during the 1950s. Between 1960 and 1964 he produced assemblages and collages reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg, though Driver was not aware of the American’s work then (e.g. Large Brass). In the United States from March to August 1965, he developed an interest in Post-painterly Abstraction as well as in Jasper Johns’s works. References to New York are manifest in his mixed-media wall relief La Guardia 2 (1966; Auckland, A.G.). The Painted Reliefs (1970–74) with their horizontal panels and strips of varying width and depth, mostly painted but sometimes aluminium, indicate the impact of American abstraction, notably that of Kenneth Noland. ...

Article

C. Barton

(b Nelson, Dec 8, 1951).

New Zealand sculptor and performance artist. He studied at the University of Waterloo, Ontario (1974–6), and at the University of Edinburgh (1975). Between 1976 and 1981 he worked primarily as a performance artist. Using gallery spaces and other locations outside the institutional framework, he undertook a variety of ritual activities involving a carefully selected range of materials—bones, skin, willow, copper and wax—which he used to explore the connections between human and animal, natural and cultural, in an attempt to restore a psychic and physical balance between the two. Earth Vein (1980) is a performance and photodocumentation piece in which Drummond inserted 500 m of copper pipe into a disused water-race in a remote region of Central Otago. By sealing each segment of pipe with muslin and beeswax, he metaphorically alluded to the healing of the body, a gesture that clearly articulated his attitude to the land....

Article

A. K. C. Petersen

(b Bromley, Kent, March 3, 1899; d Auckland, Feb 18, 1987).

English painter, sculptor, potter and teacher, active in New Zealand. He studied from 1919 to 1924 at the Royal College of Art in London, where he first became interested in the modern movement in painting and experimented with direct carving. In 1925 he emigrated to New Zealand to take up a position at the King Edward Technical College, Dunedin. There he proved an influential teacher. He established the Six and Four Art Club, partly in response to the English 7 & 5 Society, and inspired several students who were to become leading New Zealand painters, notably Colin McCahon and M. T. Woollaston.

Mostly small-scale, Field’s work was experimental and helped to free art in New Zealand from representational values. Paintings such as Christ at the Well of Samaria (1929; Wellington, Mus. NZ, Te Papa Tongarewa) were striking for their pure colour and pointillist brushwork. Carvings such as Wahine (...

Article

Graeme Sturgeon

(b Cockatoo, Victoria, March 18, 1867; d Melbourne, Sept 27, 1925).

Australian sculptor. After inauspicious beginnings and apprenticeship to a pastry cook, Gilbert was led, through his skill in modelling cake decorations, to attend part-time drawing classes at the National Gallery School, Melbourne (1888–91). He also enrolled in night classes at the Victorian Artists’ Society, where he found sympathetic encouragement from the sculptor Charles Douglas Richardson (1853–1932). At that time there was no instruction available in the traditional techniques of sculpture so Gilbert taught himself, continuing to earn his living as a chef at a fashionable Melbourne restaurant. In 1914, aged 47, Gilbert left for London to see the work of the great European sculptors of the past, but the outbreak of World War I only weeks after his arrival left him stranded in England. Too old for either military service or art school, he went on working at his sculpture, submitting it each year to the Royal Academy exhibitions. In ...

Article

Anthony Gardner

(b Singapore, July 12, 1959).

Malaysian conceptual artist, active also in Australia. Gill studied at the University of Western Sydney, completing her MA in 2001. Despite working in a range of media, she is best understood as a process-based artist who has consistently explored notions of migration and transformation within material culture. These include the effects of international trade on such everyday activities as cooking and eating. The spiral form of Forking Tongues (1992; Brisbane, Queensland A.G.), for example, entwines Western cutlery and dried chillies from the Americas and Asia, highlighting how foods and utensils from across the globe have come together to transform local cuisines and inform culinary habits. Gill’s later photographic series refer to other understandings of migration, such as the spread of the English language or of capitalist desire throughout South-east Asia in recent decades. For Forest (1998; Sydney, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery; see Chua), Gill cut out words and sentences from books written in English, placed the texts within tropical landscapes and photographed the results before the books’ paper began rotting into the humid environment. For ...

Article

Megan Tamati-Quennell

(b Arapuni, NZ, 1928).

Maori sculptor. His tribal affiliation is Ngati Koroki, Ngati Raukawa. Graham studied art at Ardmore and Dunedin Teachers’ College, subsequently becoming one of the young Maori artists who worked under Pine Taiapa. He began carving in 1962, stimulated by the belief that Maori artists needed to retain traditional skills and techniques and understand the symbolic meaning within carvings. However, as a result of working with a group of artists who were increasingly interested in new materials and styles, he chose to move away from traditional carving, to enable him to use a far wider range of materials, including stone, stainless steel and copper, as well as native and exotic woods: this versatility reinforced his insistence that he was a sculptor rather than a carver. After his first exhibition in 1966, Graham showed his work extensively, contributing to many exhibitions throughout New Zealand and in other countries. His works, many of which take the form of large commissions, focus on a wide range of issues, including the Treaty of Waitangi (...

Article

John Hovell

[Paki]

(b Tairawhiti, NZ, July 6, 1928; d Kennedy Bay, NZ, Dec 29, 2008).

Maori carver and craftsman. He was educated at Te Aute Maori Boys’ College, Waipawa county, where he came under the direct influence of Pine Taiapa. He taught in rural schools for some years, and in 1958 resumed the craft of carving, practising it for 15 years and teaching it to adults in night classes. At the age of 45 he was offered his first major project, the Waiariki Meeting House, Otara, Auckland. He completed four more houses, the Otawhao House at Te Awamutu, Te Poho-o-Tipene (St Stephen’s School) in South Auckland, the Tane-Nui-a-Rangi house at Auckland University, and the Harataunga community house at Kennedy’s Bay. Each house represented five years of research, planning, architectural and design input, as well as the carving of wall panels and structural posts, and the co-ordination of all the other decorative arts used in Maori ceremonial houses. He became recognized as the leading Tohunga Whakairo...

Article

Michael Dunn

(b New Plymouth, Oct 2, 1947).

New Zealand sculptor. She studied at the School of Fine Arts, Auckland (1966–9). During 1974 and 1979 she lived and worked in Britain. In 1982 she became a lecturer in sculpture at the School of Art, Auckland. Hellyar’s sculpture makes extensive use of found objects and recycling. In her early works, many of which show the influence of Pop art and the women’s movement, she used latex as a material and chose to avoid the solid, monumental qualities of bronze and stone. She also used stone tool forms and craft techniques, reflecting her interest in ethnography. Much of her work is presented in pieces arranged on trays, on the floor or in cupboards and boxes. Examples of her sculpture are Country Clothesline (1972; New Plymouth, NZ, Govett-Brewster A.G.) and Tool Trays (1982; Auckland, C.A.G.).

P. Cape: Please Touch: A Survey of the 3-dimensional Arts in New Zealand...

Article

Deborah Edwards

(b Isle of Man, Nov 27, 1894; d Sydney, Nov 19, 1937).

Australian sculptor of British birth. He studied at Nottingham School of Art from 1910 to 1915 and again, after active service in World War I, in 1919. He then transferred to the Royal College of Art, London, and was awarded a diploma in sculpture in 1921. In 1922 he received a British School in Rome scholarship for study in Italy but cut this short and emigrated to Australia in May 1923 to become head teacher of the sculpture department at East Sydney Technical College.

Hoff’s work belongs to an inter-war classical revival and his sculptures attest to his absorption of the Paganist–Vitalist theories promoted in Australia in the 1920s and 1930s by his close associate Norman Lindsay. Hoff’s work was generally life-affirming and sexually adventurous for its period. His major paganist sculpture is the relief Deluge: Stampede of the Lower Gods (4.5 m wide; 1925–7; Canberra, N.G.), which depicts crowds of mermaids, dryads, tritons, satyrs and Australian Aborigines. The life-size ...

Article

(b Berlin, Nov 26, 1918).

Australian sculptor of German birth. She studied sculpture at the Berlin Academy in the late 1930s, and later at the RA Schools, London (1940), and at the Glasgow School of Art (1941–3). She then travelled to New York. In 1949 she married the Australian painter–printmaker Grahame King (b 1915), whom she had met at The Abbey, an artists’ colony in London. They travelled together to Australia in 1951. Underdeveloped attitudes to modern sculpture in the 1950s prompted Inge King and others, including Lenton Parr, Vincas Jomantas (b 1912), Clifford Last (b 1918), Norma Redpath (b 1928), Julius Kane (1921–62) and Teisutis Zikaris (b 1922), to form a group known as Centre 5 (see Australia §IV 2.) that was determined to publicize contemporary sculpture and urge architects to incorporate sculptural commissions in buildings and public spaces. It took King ten years in Australia to achieve her mature style, which was expressed in monumental public commissions executed in evenly black-coated welded steel. ...