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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

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

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

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

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

Geoffrey R. Edwards

(b Sydney, July 6, 1950).

Australian glass artist. He studied science at the University of Sydney and in 1972 began a series of studies in glass in Australia, the USA and England. While in the USA he attended the Pilchuck School founded by Dale Chihuly and established a close association with the Pilchuck programme. His spectacular deployment of neon tubing as a floating serpentine pattern across panels of glossy, black moulded glass, brought him a number of major architectural commissions including large-scale murals for the Coal Board Building in Singleton, New South Wales, and the ANZ Bank in Melbourne. From the early 1980s Langley developed a series of idiomatic sculptural objects in which heavily textured and sandblasted slabs of fused glass are embedded with symbols and geometric emblems composed of intricate tesserae.

A. McIntyre: ‘Warren Langley Glass Works: Art of Man Gallery, Paddington, December 1978’, Craft Australia, 2 (Winter 1979), pp. 50–51 I. Bell: ‘Warren Langley’, ...

Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Melbourne, May 9, 1958).

Australian sculptor. He spent 20 years in Australian and British television and advertising, where he was already making the mannequins that he later adapted to sculptural purposes. He started his artistic career when collaborating with his mother-in-law, Paula Rego for the Spellbound exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1996, for which he made a Pinocchio figure. Introduced by Rego to Charles Saatchi, who immediately began to collect his work, Mueck took part in the exhibition Sensation at the Royal Academy in 1997 with mixed media sculpture Dead Dad (1996–7; London, Saatchi Gal.), an unsettling illusionistic rendition of his own deceased father, half life-size. Made from memory, the sculpture became as much the focus for a strong emotional involvement as it was a mere object treated with Mueck’s rigorous eye for detail. As the artist explained, the miniaturized representation proved a more emotionally involving depiction of death (an initial study was done in full scale) by compelling the beholder to ‘cradle’ the corpse visually. His concern with illusionistic verisimilitude has been linked to the uncompromising Northern tradition of portraiture exemplified by Jan van Eyck or Hans Holbein (ii). Mueck sculpts in clay, makes a plaster mould around it and finally replaces the clay with a mixture of fibreglass, silicone and resin; the technical skill involved, though taken for granted by the artist himself, has often been foregrounded by critics to the detriment of its content. Such psychological density was evident in ...

Article

Charles Green

(b Freetown, Sierra Leone, Dec 14, 1965).

Australian installation artist, born in Sierra Leone. Resident in Australia from 1972, Piccinini graduated in 1988 from the Australian National University, Canberra, with a BA and then from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, in 1991 with a BA (Painting). She produced images and objects that embodied imaginary evolutionary jumps and mutations (see, for example, The Young Family; see image page for more views). To produce these, she worked in a succession of new, novel materials and media: from synthetic resins, plastics and silicone developed for special effects in movies to the digital manipulation used in commercial photography and animation. In her 1997 series of photographs, Protein Lattice, a naked female plays with a large hairless rat with an enlarged human ear growing from its back. The work combined the highly contrived language of mainstream fashion photography, brightly lit, glossy and free of imperfection, with an animal that appeared to be one of the hybrid clones then emerging from laboratories. Both glossy-haired model and mutant rat appear equally artificial and equally indebted to technology....

Article

Peter Sutton

(b nr Japingka, Gt Sandy Desert, W. Australia, c. 1940).

Australian Aboriginal painter, printmaker and sculptor.He lived a nomadic hunting and gathering life in the Great Sandy Desert as a boy, until his family, whose native language was Walmatjarri, settled at Cherrabun cattle station near Fitzroy Crossing. He became a stockman and until his forties spent most of his working life in the farming industry. While serving a sentence for murder in Fremantle Prison in 1980, he began to acquire technical skills in Western media such as acrylic paint and screenprinting. The graphic power of his screenprints, for example Rurungurrwarnti, Snake Men (1985; Canberra, N.G.) and Larripuka (1986; Perth, W. Australia, Christensen Fund), and linocuts quickly made his name widely known, and his reputation rose even higher when his paintings, for example Jumirtilangu Parija Purrku II (1987; Robert Holmes à Court priv. col., see Caruana, 1993, pl. 131), with their adventurous use of bright colours and their often dense patterning, attracted public attention during the 1980s, when he was based at Kurlku. His subjects are predominantly traditional Aboriginal ones: either remembered events and routines of his bush boyhood or mythological themes. In both cases his work is intimately focused on the Great Sandy Desert, its physical contents and textures, its history and its cultural and spiritual meaning for Aborigines. Stylistically his work can be related back to ancient sacred designs, which in this region make distinctive use of the interlocking key design. Among his regional contemporaries his work most closely resembles that of Peter Skipper and Jarinyanu David Downs (...

Article

Derek Schulz

(b Wanganui, New Zealand, Sept 4, 1941).

Maori sculptor. He graduated from the University of Auckland School of Fine Art in 1962 and lived in England from 1963 to 1974. He undertook postgraduate studies in sculpture and photography under Hubert Dalwood at Hornsey College of Art, London (1965–6), and exhibited in group shows in England during the 1960s and early 1970s. His sculpture is characterized by an uncompromising use of common building materials adopted to a formal abstraction. As such it was part of a reaction in the mid-1960s to the sculpture of Anthony Caro, and a robustly independent response to the American Minimalism associated with such artists as Donald Judd and Carl Andre. Pine’s interests, however, were always eclectic and his work reflected a wide range of architectural and cultural references. His return to New Zealand in 1974 consolidated this aspect of his sculpture as he began to explore the architecture and arts of Maoritanga. His ...

Article

Vivien Johnson

(b Napperby, Northern Territory, c. 1932; d Alice Springs, June 21, 2002).

Australian Aboriginal painter. Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri’s groundbreaking career spanned four decades and as many continents. The power and beauty of his works overcame barriers that had hitherto excluded indigenous artists from contemporary Australian art. He was the first Aboriginal artist to grapple with fame’s daunting challenges.

Possum Tjapaltjarri’s life began in the 1930s in a creekbed on Napperby station 200 ks north-west of Alice Springs in the heart of Anmatyerre country. From boyhood until 1978 he lived the hard and dangerous life of a Central Australian stockman. During this time he also acquired the extensive knowledge of country and Aboriginal law that would later distinguish his paintings.

In early 1972, Possum Tjapaltjarri joined the group of painters at the Papunya settlement (see Aboriginal Australia, §IV, 1). His cousin, Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, was already exploring the idea of a commercial artistic form based on Western Desert traditions when the art teacher Geoffrey Bardon (...

Article

Kyla Mackenzie

(b Ashburton, Christchurch, 1966).

New Zealand sculptor, painter, printmaker, and installation artist of Maori descent. Robinson trained as a sculptor at Ilam School of Fine Arts in Christchurch (1985–8). He had artist residencies in Germany and Australia and held guest lectureships in the US, Sweden, and Denmark. He took up the post of Associate Professor at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, in 2003.

Robinson gained early attention for his provocative paintings and sculptures exploring ethnic identity politics and international art careerism. In the ‘Percentage Paintings’ from 1993 he appeared to question his positioning as Maori artist and his 3.125% Maori ‘blood’. His ironic commentaries on the commodification of indigenous artists employed text and image using oil sticks in a crude style as well as the reds, whites, and blacks of Maori art. Strategic Plan (1998; Auckland, A.G) features a Maori tiki-like motif, adopts a wall-chart approach, and outlines ‘tips’ for artists. His ambiguous sculptures often used motifs from travel technology, such as the ...

Article

Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel

The final decades of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed an increasing propensity for artists to incorporate aspects of science in their own art. In many fields of scientific research—including the cloning of mammals, the genetic modification of crops, the creation of bioengineered organs and tissues, advances in nanotechnology and robotics, experimental research in how the human mind works and the study of artificial intelligence—the frontiers of knowledge pushed outward at an accelerated pace. In the spirit of creative inquiry, or in order to critique the goals and outcomes of scientific experimentation and application, artists regularly borrowed subjects, tools and approaches from science as a means to the production of art ( see fig. ).

In documenting and assessing the achievements of visual artists engaged with science, there was no broad consensus on the categorisation of artists’ work across the full range of activities, methods, motivations and use of materials. Assessments of artistic practice focused on artists’ work categorised by the traditional fields of science (e.g. artists who explore biology, artists who explore physical sciences). Other analyses of artistic practice focused on categories of art media (e.g. artists who use traditional means such as carving and casting to represent scientific discoveries, artists who explore and employ biological materials and scientific instruments)....

Article

Kathi Holt-Damant

(b Regensburg, 1946).

Australian architect, academic, sculptor and poet of German birth. Selenitsch produced work across many disciplines that reflected the migrant culture of Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. Utilizing his linguistic heritage (Russian, German and English), together with the idea of translation, he characteristically offered multiple viewpoints of the same text, enabling new meanings to emerge. With a primary interest in ideas, he examined ordinary, everyday objects, often choosing such anchoring motifs as the Southern Cross as themes. Each project (in art, architecture, or poetry) is part of a larger set of similar, but different pieces. Within each set there are operational rules that deal with relationships between elements. Each piece will reflect these rules, while being substantially altered. A set will show a series of transformations from the original object, which can be viewed graphically as a series of patterns, exposing cultural subjectivities, for example, Southern Cross, Ladders, Dante’s Purgatorio...

Article

Robin Woodward

( Lascelles )

(b Auckland, June 23, 1937).

New Zealand sculptor. Twiss graduated in 1959 with a Diploma of Fine Arts (Honours in Sculpture) from the Elam School of Fine Arts, at the University of Auckland. At the forefront of developments in New Zealand sculpture since the early 1960s, he was appointed lecturer at Elam in 1966, Head of Sculpture in 1974, and Associate Professor in 1984. He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002.

In the 1960s Twiss introduced artistic bronze-casting to New Zealand by constructing a foundry and experimenting with casting techniques and materials. Work cast in concrete, lead, bronze, and aluminium were followed in the 1970s by brightly painted fibreglass and then by fabrication in galvanized sheet steel in later decades. Twiss’s childhood interest in puppetry led to involvement in early television production in New Zealand, as well as informing his subject-matter in sculpture. Jugglers and acrobats in his early work were followed in the 1960s by images from popular culture and sport (e.g. ...

Article

Ah Xian  

Claire Roberts

[Liu Jixian]

(b Beijing, May 7, 1960).

Chinese multimedia artist, active also in Australia. Ah Xian is a self-taught artist. He grew up during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) and spent his early years in the relatively privileged environment of Beijing’s Science and Engineering University, where his parents worked. He trained as a mechanical fitter and worked in a factory, pursuing art on his own time. In the late 1970s he began to associate with avant-garde poets, writers and artists including members of The Stars, a non-official art group demanding freedom of artistic expression. Because his experimental works of art incorporating naked figures were considered at the time to be spiritually polluting, he was subject to routine surveillance by the Public Security Bureau.

Ah Xian first travelled to Australia in 1989 as a visiting artist at the Tasmanian School of Art. He returned the following year, after the Tiananmen massacre (4 June 1989), and in ...