Indepth Arts News: |
"John Drawbridge - Wide Open Interior"
2001-12-09 until 2001-02-10
City Gallery Wellington, 360-Michael Hirschfeld Gallery
Pass through the Beehive, Radio New Zealand House, or the National Library,
and you can't help but notice John Drawbridge's imposing public murals.
Indeed, this Wellington-based artist has produced some of the best-known
murals in New Zealand. But as a major new retrospective shows, his prolific
output over the past 40 years has also included an immense body of paintings
and prints, a selection of which will be on display at City Gallery
Wellington from Sunday 9 December.
John Drawbridge has been a leading figure in New Zealand printmaking since
his return from study in England and Europe in the mid-1960s. His paintings
are less well known but equally impressive. Wide Open Interior is the first
exhibition to present his paintings and prints on a major scale.
Curated by Gregory O'Brien, the exhibition features over 40 major oil
paintings and over 50 etchings, watercolours and works on paper. His
critically acclaimed mural, completed in 1963 for New Zealand House in
London, has been borrowed from its current home at Archives New Zealand, for
this exhibition. Also included are works by European masters Pierre Bonnard
and Ben Nicholson, who have inspired Drawbridge.
Born in Wellington in 1930, John Drawbridge was awarded a scholarship to
study at London's Central School of Arts and Crafts in 1957. His work
revealed a close connection to the Pacific even during the six years he
spent overseas. On his return to New Zealand, he set up house at Island Bay,
Wellington, overlooking Cook Strait and the Pacific Ocean. For nearly 40
years, he has explored the colours, forms and rhythms of this coastal
environment in his abstract paintings, along with the interior of his
beachfront house, its many windows framing figures and vistas.
John Drawbridge - Wide Open Interior is accompanied by a book of the same
name, which is the first published study of the artist's work. It features
32 full colour reproductions and over 50 black and white illustrations with
accompanying essays by Gregory O'Brien, Robert Macdonald, Lara Strongman and
Gerald Barnett. ($ 39.95 from City Gallery Wellington and good bookshops).