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John Drawbridge - Wide Open Interior

Major John Drawbridge exhibition opening next weekend @ City Gallery Wellington


Press release:
John Drawbridge - Wide Open Interior
Sunday 9 December - Sunday 10 February 2002


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).

John Drawbridge - Wide Open Interior is presented by The Evening Post. City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from the Wellington City Council.

For more information, images, interviews contact: Anne Irving, T: 04 801 3959 / F: 04 801 3096 / anne.irving@wcc.govt.nz. ENDS

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