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Quirky and gifted artist remembered by Creative New Zealand

12 Dec 2011

This content is tagged as Multi-Artform .

NEWS

Creative New Zealand remembers Don Driver who passed away last week as a visual artist who frequently challenged and stimulated New Zealand audiences.

Creative New Zealand remembers Don Driver who passed away last week as a visual artist who frequently challenged and stimulated New Zealand audiences.

Don Driver is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most significant contemporary artists. Best known for crafting sculptures out of found and discarded objects, Driver’s work would combine prams, ladders, sacks, door mats, milk crates and stuffed birds in unusual and lively compositions.

“Throughout his career, Don Driver experimented with media, textures, form and colour. The results raised questions and debates about what art is and how it should look,” says Creative New Zealand chief executive Stephen Wainwright,

“Although we have lost the artist, his work will give our communities a legacy of ongoing, healthy discussions about the place, shape and nature of art”.   

Although born in Hastings in 1930, Mr Driver lived in New Plymouth since childhood. He was a largely self-taught artist, having received no formal school or tertiary art education. He enjoyed a formative experience as an artist when he travelled to New York in 1965 and was an avid reader of materials that discussed modern art traditions.

Mr Driver’s early work was influenced by Asian and African art. In the late 1960s he shifted towards examining the mundane, everyday objects which surrounded him in New Zealand. He analysed the power of signs and symbols, and grappled with the boundaries and definitions of ‘art’.

He was the recipient of many grants and awards, including several QEII Arts Council awards, New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Award (1991), BP Art Award (1987), the Sarjeant Gallery Whanganui Art Award (1984), the Hansell’s Sculpture Award and the Benson and Hedges art award. He was also chosen to represent New Zealand in several Australian Biennales.

Mr Driver’s work is well represented in major public and private collections. He is one of this country’s most eminent artists to emerge in the contemporary New Zealand art arena.

ENDS

News and blog : Quirky and gifted artist remembered by Creative New Zealand