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art heros of canterbury

 

This page celebrates some of the many artists that have come from the Canterbury region in New Zealand.

 

Rev. Henry Williams (1782-1867).
Born England, midshipman for the Royal Navy, retired for health reasons. Ordained 1822, came to NZ 1823, set up church mission in Paihia Bay. 1844 archdeacon of Waimate, south Canterbury. Influential with Maori chiefs in the period leading up to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangii. Produced pencil drawings and painted in watercolour. Marine and landscape scenes.

 

Charles Meryon (1821-68).
French naval service sublieutenant aboard the Rhin, which sailed to NZ and Australia c.1842-6. Stationed Akaroa, sketched views of the area, later turned into etchings.

 

Sir Julius von Haast (1822-87).
Mineralogist and geologist. Born and studied in Germany. Came to NZ 1858. With F. von Hochstetter, explored and conducted geological surveys for Nelson and Canterbury Provincial Council. Founded the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury 1862, was Canterbury Museum’s first director 1869, taught geology at Canterbury University College and art at Lincoln College. Gave pakeha names to glaciers and rivers in the South Island. Died in Christchurch. From his sketches of geological landscapes, John Gully produced watercolours and presented them to the Royal Geographical Society, London 1864.

 

Petrus van der Velden (1837-1913).
Professional painter and teacher. Born Netherlands, became printing apprentice, studied art in Holland and Germany. Dutch romantic realist school, led by Joseph Israels, Met van Gogh 1883. Portraits and genre works. Emigrated to NZ 1890, brought his expressive, European style of painting to NZ. Series on Otira Gorge 1892-c.1912, capturing the dramatic forces of nature. Lived in Australia 1898-1905, died Auckland.

 

Margaret Stoddart (1865-1934).
Born Diamond Harbour, educated in Edinburgh c.1876 and later at Canterbury School of Art. Art career began 1880s, one of the first women in NZ to become a professional artist. Botanical and landscape painter, especially of the Mackenzie country and other parts of Canterbury. Studied in Europe 1897, met Frances Hodgkins. Returned to NZ 1906, taught at Canterbury School of Art 1907 and in Nelson. Encouraged outdoor sketching. Influential in Christchurch art circles.

 

Colin S. Lovell-Smith (1894-1960).
Born Christchurch. Painter and teacher. Studied Canterbury School of Art c.1908, along with wife R. Lovell-Smith, then briefly in England. Painted mainly plein air scenes of Canterbury landscape and portraits. Commercial artist for father’s printery. In WWI served in NZ Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli and in Royal Engineers as a draughtsman. WWII was an intelligence officer for the National Military Reserve and Home Guard. In Christchurch, taught commercial art, and at St Andrews College and Canterbury School of Art, director in 1947. Associated with The Group, formed in 1927, mainly by artists from the Canterbury Society of Arts, to try to get more control over exhibiting. From 1956-60 vice president of CSA.

 

Evelyn Page (nee Polson) (1899-1988).
Born Christchurch, attended Canterbury School of Art 1915-22, and later taught there. From 1947 settled in Wellington with her husband, musician Frederick Page. Painter using impressionist techniques, with light interpreted through colour, using expressive and energetic brush work. Figure scenes, especially nude women in dappled sunlight 1920s-30s. Landscape and still life. 1966 studied in Vienna at the school of Russian expressionist Oscar Kokoschka. Member of The Group.

 

Len Lye (1901-80).
Born Christchurch. Trained in Wellington, and at Canterbury School of Art 1919. Studied film animation in Sydney 1921-2. Became an experimental filmmaker, painter and writer. Lived in Samoa and London, where was a member of the Seven and Five Society. Spent most of his life in USA. In NY from 1944, producing kinetic sculpture. Public commissions in NZ.

 

Louise Henderson (nee Sauze) (1902-94).
Painter and influential art teacher. Leading modernist in NZA during 1950s. born France, father secretary to Rodin, grandfather Minister of Arts. Came to NZ 1925, attended Canterbury School of Art and Elam SFA. 1952 studied cubism in Paris. Her paintings developed from regional landscapes to flowing abstract forms. Cubist paintings of foliage 1970s. Accompanied Rita Angus on sketching trips. Taught embroidery design at Canterbury School of Art.

 

Olivia Spencer-Bower (1905-82).
Born England, daughter of R. Spencer-Bower. Studied at Canterbury School of Art, and in Auckland, London. Painter, portraits and European and NZ landscapes, especially South Canterbury and Otago. Published in Art New Zealand c.1938, illustrator for Alan Mulgan 1938. Taught art privately in NZ and England. Member of The Group.

 

Dame Eileen Rosemary Mayo (1906-94).
Born and studied art in England Paris and Australia. Separated from husband 1962, joined her mother and sister in Waimate, south Canterbury. Printmaker and designer, wrote and illustrated books on natural science. Moved to Christchurch mid 1960s, taught at University of Canterbury SFA until 1972. On the Print Council of NZ.

 

Rita Angus (Mrs A.H. Cook, 1930-34) (1908-70).
Leading figure in the development of modernist art in NZ. Studied at Palmerston North Technical School and then at the Canterbury School of Art (1927-33). Influenced by Vermeer, Cezanne, cubists. 1934-7 worked as commercial artist, taught art part-time. Worked with distinctive, clearly defined forms, flat colour, sharp light. 1930s-1940s regionalist landscapes of Otago and Canterbury. Member of The Group.

 

Toss Woollaston (Sir Mountford Tosswill) (1910-98).
Born North Island, pioneer of modern art in NZ. Attended Canterbury School of Art, then studied in Dunedin. In 1934, introduced to the Hofmann school in Munich, based on the principles of Cezanne for representing space and form. Committed his life to painting. Expressionist landscapes and portraits. Leading member of The Group. Died in Nelson district.

 

Leo Bensemann (1912-86)
Typographer, calligrapher, award winning book illustrator, painter and composer. In 1930 settled in Christchurch. Attended evening classes at the Canterbury School of Art 1932-6. During 1930s painted with Rita Angus and developed a similar style. Portraits and landscapes. 1969 received a QEII travel grant and studied graphic design and typography in France. Studied rock forms, surreal and symbolic. In Fantastica, he published 13 art nouveau illustrations based on Aubrey Beardsley. Also produced wood engravings. Closely associated with The Group.

 

Doris Lusk (1916-69).
Born and trained in Dunedin. Later based in Christchurch. Prominent NZ painter, in regionalist and nationalist styles of 1930s and 40s. Landscapes, portraits, still life. Interest in cubism. Commercial artist and art teacher, both privately and as senior lecturer at University of Canterbury SFA 1967-81. President of CSA 1980s. Member of The Group.

 

Bill Sutton (1917-2000).
Born and based in Canterbury. Attended Canterbury School of Art 1934-8, and later in London. Landscape and portrait painter. Taught at the Canterbury School of Art (later University of Canterbury SFA), where he became head of painting 1950. Member of The Group. Died in Christchurch.

 

Rudi (Rudolf) Gopas (1917-83).
Expressionist painter. Born Germany. Arrived in NZ from eastern Europe in 1949. Settled in Christchurch, taught at the University of Canterbury SFA 1959-78. Influential art teacher, encouraging students to access their inner creative powers. Series of harbour scenes 1955-70, then abstract works based on astronomy.

 

Colin McCahon (1919-87).
Born Timaru, studied Dunedin. Full time visionary painter based in the Auckland area from 1970. Very influential on post-war modernist art in NZ. NZ landscape, incorporating numbers and words from the bible and NZ poets in Maori and English. Influenced by post-impressionists, cubists, abstract expressionists and minimalists. Associated with the Group. Represented in NZ and internationally, retrospective exhibition in the Netherlands.

 

Gordon Walters (1919-95).
Born, trained and taught in Wellington. Influenced by surrealtists Tanguy and Dali, and abstract artists Klee and Mondrian. Theo Schoon developed his interest in Maori rock art. Worked at the Government Printing Office from 1954, painted full time from 1966. One of NZ’s first formal abstract artists. 1964-early 1980s produced the Koru series. Playing on repeated stylised koru motifs. Also worked with silkscreen. Lived in both Wellington and Auckland, finally settled in Christchurch.

 

Don Peebles (b.1922).
Artist and teacher. Born North Island, served in WWII. Studied art in Florence, Wellington and Sydney – under John Passmore 195103. Paints in acrylics, makes constructions. Senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury SFA 1964-82.

 

Alan Pearson (b.1929).
Grew up in England, came to NZ 1954. Studied in Wellington and at the University of Canterbury SFA 1961. Taught art in Christchurch, full time painter from 1957. Abstract, figurative, expressionist, portraiture.

 

Jacqueline Fahey (b.1929).
Born Timaru. Painter and novelist. Graduated from the University of Canterbury SFA in 1953. Moved to Wellington, now based in Auckland. Art has a narrative quality. Lectures in art, president of the NZ Society of Sculptors Association 1984-5.

 

John Bevan Forde (Ngati Raukawa ki Kapiti) (b. 1930).
Born Christchurch. Maori painter, printmaker, sculptor. Has lectured and shown work in USA and London. Commissioned by Netherlands government to produce drawings to commemorate 350th anniversary of the first sighting of NZ by Abel Tasman.

 

Pat Hanly (1932-2004?).
Attended inter alia University of Canterbury SFA 1952-6. Painter and printmaker. Also illustration, assemblage, stained glass design and murals, in Christchurch Town Hall and Aotea Centre, Auckland. Taught and painted stage sets in London. Lived in Europe from c.1957. Died inAuckland.

 

Trevor Moffit (b.1936).
Born and educated Southland. Studied at University of Canterbury SFA, and trained as a teacher in Auckland. Art teacher, including at Burnside High School, Christchurch, full time painter from 1987. Painter of narrative and social history. Settled in Christchurch from 1966.

 

Pauline Rhodes (b.1937).
Born Christchurch. Outdoor sculpture projects and installations. Westport 1961, using ceramics. Nigeria 1965, studiying ceramics and learned traditional bronze casting. Later lived in England. Sculpted in bronze on return to NZ, From 1972-4 attended the University of Canterbury SFA.

 

Margaret Hudson-Ware (b.1938).
Born and now based in Christchurch. Graduated from University of Canterbury SFA 1959. Paints and draws figure and portrait compositions in expressionist style. Deals with 20th century social issues through classical and biblical imagery.

 

Barry Cleavin (b.1939).
 Born Dunedin, now based in Christchurch. Printmaker. Studied 1963-6, and taught at the University of Canterbury SFA 1978-90. Also studied at Honolulu. Surreal and satirical. Artist-in-residence in NZ and Australia, has exhibited overseas.

 

Tony Fomison (1939-90).
Born Christchurch, studied at the University of Canterbury SFA 1956-60. Interested in primitive art, assistant ethnologist at Canterbury Museum 1962. Visited Europe mid 1960s. Figurative painter and printmaker. Distorted figures from myths and legends, self portraits. Settled among the Polynesian community in Auckland. Like his friend P. Clairmont, experimented with drugs and alcohol in generation of art.

 

Philip Trusttum (b.1940).
Born North Island. Abstract painter and printmaker. Studied University of Canterbury SFA 1961-3. Interested in textures and patterns. Designed stained glass windows. From 1987, lived in Waimate, now back in Christchurch.

 

Matt Pine (Te Ati Haunui-a-Paparangi, Te Ati Awa, Ngati Tuwharetoa) (b.1941).
Born North Island, studied art at the University of Canterbury SFA and Auckland. Trained as a teacher at the Christchurch Teachers College. 1963-74 travelled to the Far East, Africa, USA, Europe. Studied graphic design, photography and sculpture in London. “Abstract, minimal construction/deconstruction.”

 

Buck Nin (Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toa) (1942-96).
Born and based in the North Island (Hamilton). Graduated from University of Canterbury SFA 1965, later studied in Hawai’i and Texas. Inspired by his Maori and Chinese ancestry. Sought to raise the profile of Maori art in NZ.

 

Dick Frizzel (b.1943).
Born Auckland, studied at the University of Canterbury SFA 1960-64. Trained as teacher in Auckland. Images derived from pop culture, often humorous. Has also worked as commercial artist, film animator (created the Chesdale cheese men), illustrator, advertising director, and lecturer.

 

Jule Einhorn (b.1945).
Printmaker, graphic designer and photographer. Studied in Wellington, NY and Mexcio, and at the University of Canterbury SFA 1976-7. Director of Gingko workshop and Gallery , Christchurch 1980-90. Since 1990 has lectured at Canterbury and Lincoln universities.

 

Graham Bennett (b. 1947)
Sculptor and printmaker. Studied University of Canterbury SFA, Works in range of materials and has collaborated with architects, rug designers, and jewellers. Interested in the geometric patterns of Pacific cultures and the effects of colonisation.

 

Bill Hammond (b.1947).
Toymaker, musician, painter and printmaker. Born Christchurch, now based in Lyttelton.  Studied at University of Canterbury SFA 1966-8. Surreal images, particularly birds, drawn from pop culture and history. Trip to Auckland Islands 1989 in the Sub-Antarctic project. Also references to 19th century ornithologist Sir Walter Lawry Buller. Uses recycled materials.

 

Neil Dawson (b.1948).
Born Christchurch. Studied at the University of Canterbury SFA and in Melbourne. Creates “public, corporate and private site specific sculptures,” using images from the natural environment. Cathedral Square? Materials include stainless steel, and aluminium. Designed two large sculptures for the Sydney Olympics 2000.

 

Allen Maddox (b.1948).
UK born abstract expressionist. Lived in NZ from 1963. Attended University of Canterbury SFA 1967-8. Since 1976 known for painting using the X motif within a grid-like framework. Also lithographs. Self-professed interest in Art Brut.

 

Philip Clairmont (1949-84).
Expressionist painter and printmaker. Studied at the University of Canterbury SFA. Worked in expressionistic figurative forms, fragmented into abstraction, under the influence of hallucinatory drugs. Influenced by van Gogh and Francis Bacon.

 

Jeffrey Harris (b.1949).
Born and grew up in Akaroa. Interested in German expressionists and Albrecht Durer. Work often autobiographical, concerned with relationships and emotions, becoming more abstract, with images from popular culture. Moved to Melbourne 1986, now back in Dunedin.

 

Kathryn Maddill (b. 1951).
Graduated University of Canterbury SFA 1971. Printmaker. Figures, female imagery, set within theatrical, dreamlike scenes. Has collaborated as illustrator with Canterbury poet Bernadette Hall, visited Antarctica 2004.

 

Dee (Denise) Copland (b.1952).
Printmaker. Born Timaru. Studied graphic design at Christchurch Polytechnic attended the University of Canterbury SFA. Based in Christchurch. Work concerned with ecology.

 

Bing Dawe (b.1952).
Christchurch based sculptor and printmaker. Graduated from the University of Canterbury SFA 1976. Political and environmental concerns. Influenced by medieval art. A Sculpture for Children, a public commission, in the Christchurch Arts Centre. Also redesigned and reconstructed the interior of St Mary’s Catholic Church, Christchurch 1983, in collaboration with Ria Bancroft.

 

Julia Morison (b.1952).
Painter and installation artist. Born North Island, studied in Wellington and at University of Canterbury SFA 1973-5. Full time artist since 1985. Works with mixed media, materials including blood and excrement. From 1890s, includes references to the Jewish Kabbala and hermeticism. 1990-8, lived in France.

 

L. Budd, et al, Merilyn Tweedie (b. 1953).
Multimedia installation artist. Born Christchurch, graduated University of Canterbury SFA 1975. Works under various identities. Late 1980s her work was concerned with feminist issues.

 

Michael Armstrong (b. 1954).
Born in Christchurch, studied at the University of Canterbury SFA mid 1970s. Abstract expressionist style paintings with a sculptural quality, working with the human form. Also aluminium wall reliefs and textile design. Tutor at the Aoraki Polytechnic, Timaru.

 

Euan Macleod (b.1956).
Born Christchurch. Studied graphic design at Christchurch Technical College 1974-5, then University of Canterbury SFA 1977-9. Figurative painter, relating figure to landscape. Has lived in Australia since 1981.

 

Grant Takle (b.1962).
Born Christchurch, studied University of Canterbury SFA. Paints and sculpts. Interested in colonial history.

 

Ronnie van Hout (b.1962).
Born Christchurch, studied University of Canterbury SFA 1980-2, Photo Access, Christchurch, 1989-92, Christchurch Polytechnic 1995, and in Melbourne 1998-9. Painter, printmaker, sculptor, photographer, installation artist. Worked with rock band Into the Void from 1988.

 

Jason Greig (b. 1963).
Born Timaru, now based in Christchurch. Printmaker. Graduated from the University of Canterbury SFA 1985. Influenced by B. Cleavin and T. Fomison. Macabre portraits. Teaches at the University of Canterbury SFA, Aoraki Polytechnic, Timaru.

 

Shane Cotton (Ngati Puhi, Ngati Rangi, Ngati Hine) (b. 1964).
Painter and mixed-media artist. Attended the University of Canterbury SFA 1980s. Explores Maori and colonial history in NZ.

 

Seraphine Pick (b.1964)
Contemporary artist. Born North Island, studied at the University of Canterbury SFA. Figurative and representational styles. Paints, draws, sews, makes installations. Concepts of memory, fantasy, sexuality, human relationships, identity, gender, fetish.

 

Peter Robinson (Ngai Tahu) (b.1965).
Born Ashburton, attended the University of Canterbury SFA and Christchurch College of Education. Of Maori and pakeha descent, drawing from both cultural heritages in his work. Painter, sculptor (objects of kitsch), printmaker, and art in graffiti style. Taught at Christs College in 1990s.

 

Tony de Lautour (b. 1965).
Painter and sculptor, mixed media. Born Australia, moved to NZ 1967. Majored in sculpture at the University of Canterbury SFA 1988. Concerned with NZ identity and history, images derived from pop culture.

 

Saskia Leek (b.1970).
Born Christchurch, graduated University of Canterbury SFA 1992) Paintings represent memories of 1970s childhood, with influence of popular culture. Comic book like images. Also works in photography, video and installation.

 

For More information on Artist in Canterbury please visit: www.artscanterbury.org.nz