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Paul Dibble: The Large Works

Paul Dibble: The Large Works

“Paul Dibble has not made anything where you might ask if it is not too small. Too large, you could think for a moment, before you realise that the size is exactly what it has to be.

“Few artists stand out as Paul Dibble does.” – Dr Henner Loeffler

This appropriately-sized, large-scale book is a many-layered examination of one of New Zealand’s most lauded and enduring artists. It illustrates how Paul Dibble’s magnificent bronze works are made and reveals the stories behind who wants them.

Paul Dibble: The Large Works is published to coincide with his new exhibition – ‘The Ghost of the Huia and The Orchard’ - at the Gow Langsford Gallery, Lorne Street, Auckland which launches on 2 October and runs until 27 October 2012.

Covering works for the public domain, commissions for schools and pieces for private clients, this book takes the reader through the fascinating process of not only the thinking and design of artworks, but also the practicalities of dealing with huge sculptures, some using hundreds of kilograms of bronze.

The book’s photographs highlight the beauty that comes from both the material and form of Dibble’s sculptures.

The book culminates in what will probably be Dibble’s most lasting work – the New Zealand Memorial in London. Not only are you taken through the whole development process, with ideas taken up, tossed around and discarded, and the constraint of the commission and the London site, there is also a section that describes what is featured on the surface of the work itself.

Dibble is also generous in discussing processes and techniques, what works, what doesn’t, how he approaches different projects, works with clients, etc. In short, this is a very special “access all areas” look at living and working as an artist in New Zealand over the last thirty or so years.

‘I confess I never really believed that I could make a living as a sculptor and still, before an exhibition, as for nearly 20 years of making art I sold very little, there is always a degree of worry, because I can’t fully believe it is possible.” – Paul Dibble.

PAUL DIBBLE was born in Waitakaruru, on the Hauraki Plains, near Thames. From 1963 to 1967, he studied at Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours in Sculpture. At first he worked for Group architect James Hackshaw, making artwork for churches alongside his ex-tutor Colin McCahon. In the 1970s he taught art in various secondary schools, then left to take up a position at Massey University in Palmerston North. By the year 2000, Dibble gave up teaching entirely to work exclusively in his own workshop.

Dibble’s first solo exhibition was in 1971 at the Barry Lett Gallery, Auckland. He has since maintained a consistent exhibition schedule throughout New Zealand, with work also appearing in at several overseas art fairs and, more recently, in exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney. He has produced a number of significant commissions and is represented in numerous collections here and overseas.

In 2006, in collaboration with Athfield Architects, he completed a large New Zealand Memorial sited at Hyde Park Corner in London. This work was opened on Armistice Day, with a dedication attended by the Prime Minister Helen Clark, Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of Britain, the Queen and many members of the royal family.

He was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004 and an Honorary Doctorate, the first in the visual arts, from Massey University in 2007, and a Fellowship from UCOL (Universal College of Learning), 2011.

Paul Dibble: The Large Works | David Bateman Publishing | Published 2 October 2012 | Hardback with more than 200 colour illustrations | rrp.$125


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