Exhibition: 22 November - 6 December 2016
Preview: Tuesday 22nd Nov 5:30 PM
Neil Driver was born and raised in Dunedin and moved to Central Otago in 1975. It is from this landscape that he derives his inspiration, with its magical light and open spaces.
From landscape to still life, Driver’s work evokes serenity and contemplation. Through considered use of light and shadow his paintings are invested with a sense of stillness and calm that gives his work a timeless quality. Painting in a combination of traditional and contemporary styles that is uniquely his own, Driver depicts the details that may be overlooked in everyday life. This gifted artist brings life to the simplest of objects such as a rumpled shirt casually draped over a chair, a wooden box or a bowl of fruit.
Whether it is through a window frame or open door that we view the quiet hills or sea beyond, the lean towards surrealism is evident. Humans are absent from Driver’s paintings, but their presence can be intensely felt through open doors and empty chairs.
In Driver’s still life paintings we can sense the human presence in tenderly rendered surfaces of well used vessels. ‘Pears and Blue Enamel’ is an example of the classical consideration given to arrangements of familiar and time-worn objects. Different textures are beautifully balanced, the glaze of enamel juxtaposed with the rich russet of the fruit, and the geometric patterns of a kilim adding further interest to the arrangement. The compositions are set against uninterrupted walls, compelling the viewer to pause in contemplation of the surfaces and filtered lighting which are a feature of these works.
Driver works up his paintings with layers of transparent acrylic paint on board, slowly building up colour and tone to give each painting its’ unique ambiance.
Driver has been exhibiting in New Zealand since 1975. His works are in private collections worldwide and in public collections at the Hocken Library, Department of Foreign Affairs, Bank of New Zealand and State Services Commission.