Elizabeth Thomson
Paramount Award 1998
In 1998 Elizabeth Thomson was the Paramount Award winner with her work “Southern Cross Paterre”

Elizabeth Thompson, Southern Cross Paterre (1998), Bronze (paint, patina) on gesso

Elizabeth Thomson is a significant Wellington sculptor who is well known in New Zealand and abroad. Thomson’s subject matter is Nature. In her work pandemonium and order collide in the same way they do in nature. Her intricate sculptures of flora and fauna sometimes observe strict symmetry, while at other times patterns are stretched closer to the borders of chaos. Thomson has undertaken numerous public and private commissions for site specific works. Her exquisite cast bronze bugs and flowers have been said ‘to shift and waver’ ( 1) across the picture plane – her work exploring the beauty manifest in nature.

(1)Arts Calendar. Article ‘ Elizabeth Thomson – Horoeka and Antequera Observations on Home and Abroad’

Peter Stichbury
Paramount Award 1997
In 1997 Peter Stichbury was the Paramount Award Winner with his work “Truce”.

In 1997 Peter Stichbury was the Paramount Award Winner with his work Truce

Accomplished artist Peter Stichbury exploded onto the art scene taking five awards in the same year he completed his BFA at Elam School of Fine Arts in 1997. Stichbury is technically proficient, extolling portraiture painting precepts with his contemporary caricatures. Stichbury’s painting is highly controlled, evident in his seamless shading and line work. His use of light and shadow bring his hyper-real figures to the foreground of his largely monotone works. 

Of this award winning work ‘there are hints at some hiatus in interpersonal relationships. What is depicted is a group of three individuals talking past each other – locked into a caricature of disputing politician’s. This trinity with strange proportions, large heads and small bodies and annoying table manners has a 1940’s film noir look, creating a disturbing and enigmatic work.” (1)

(1) John Daly-Peoples, The National Business Review, 14.11.07

Jenny Dolezel
Paramount Award 1996
In 1996 Jenny Dolezel was the Paramount Award Winner with her work “Charm School”.

1996 Jenny Dolezel was the Paramount Award Winner with her work Charm School

Vibrant, uncanny and gripping, Jenny Dolezel’s art has the definition and confidence typical of experienced print makers and painters. Winner of 15 major Art Awards here in New Zealand and around the world, Dolezel’s success can be attributed to her very distinct artistic style. Dolezel builds up lush, textural surfaces that depict mysterious interactions and figures that demand deeper inspection; she ‘explores issues about the complexity of desire and individual identity and about illusion and reality by utilizing the tension between abstraction and figuration.’ (1)

“My investigation of the figurative and the imagined has moved structurally from contained tableaux of the theatrical narratives to the multifaceted surfaces that involve a web of interconnections, overlays and inter-lockings.”(2)

(1) Courtesy of Fishers Fine Arts (http://www.fishersfinearts.com)
(2) Jenny Dolezel, Courtesy of Fishers Fine Arts

Fatu Feu’u
Paramount Award 1995
In 1995 Fatu Feu’u was the Paramount Award Winner for his work “Ivi’ivia”.

1995 Fatu Feu u was the Paramount Award Winner for his work Ivi ivia

Fatu Feu’u has become a well-established New Zealand artist whose work is included in many private and public collections both in New Zealand and overseas. Feu’u is a multi media artist and while primarily a painter, he explores a range of other mediums including bronze, wood and stone sculpture, pottery design, lithographs, woodcuts, glass works (both stained and etched) as well as carpet designs. His paintings are described as drawing on traditional motifs to make contemporary art.These works can be seen to record and reinterpret community based Samoan art in the continuum. He states “I have taken the traditional art form and brought it into the contemporary, to today and somebody else can take it to tomorrow. It’s a way of keeping our art alive. My belief is that the art form will die if we don’t adapt it to today.” (1) 

“I feel there is so much art to be made, so much to be said about being a Samoan New Zealander, so much to say to my children, my mother, the politicians. I paint about the issues that are important to me, anger, love, the land, conservation and our culture, my children.” ( 2)

(1) Courtesy of Tautau Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust (www.tautaipacific.com)
(2) Courtesy of http://www.pacificart.co.nz/

Bill Hammond
Paramount Award 1994
In 1994 Bill Hammond was the Paramount Award Winner with his work “Watching for Buller”.

1994 Bill Hammond was the Paramount Award Winner with his work Watching for Buller

Hammond is represented in private and public collections throughout New Zealand and his work has been included in several important International exhibitions. ‘Hammond has become a celebrated and enigmatic exponent of what is bizarre, surreal and quirky in New Zealand art, and in the last nineteen years he has firmly embedded himself into the art history of this country.’ ( 1) 

This seminal work ‘Waiting for Buller’ refers to the famous ornithologist Sir Walter Lawry Buller (1838 – 1906) who had an influence on Hammond’s work. ‘In his paintings Hammond pays both a reluctant homage to Buller, as well as commenting on what he saw as an often archaic and obstructive practice, referring to him as the “bird stuffer”. Buller viewed the native birds of New Zealand in much the same way that artists such as Charles Frederick Goldie (1870-1947) saw the Maori race – as noble but on the verge of extinction.’( 2) ‘Hammond has titillated and bemused the New Zealand art scene with his lurching and jittery images for several years, however more recently his work has become less frenetically spooky and he has incorporated a sense of elegance and delicacy into his sardonic history paintings and black comedies.’ ( 3)

(1) Courtesy of Ferner Galleries ( http://www.ferner.co.nz/ )
(2) Courtesy of Gowlangsford Gallery ( http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz/ )
(3) Courtesy of Ferner Galleries

Jeff Brown
Paramount Award 1993
Jeff Brown was the Paramount Award Winner in 1993 with his untitled work.

Jeff BROWN untitled

Jeff Brown’s work is characterized by the ‘application of strong, highly keyed colour to a variety of surfaces’.(1) Elements of tribal and totemic art are evident in Brown’s work. He experiments with surface and his uniquely unsteady application of line gives his forms a drawn, natural look. Brown uses colour strongly to block in, dissect, and level out busy areas within the works. The Legacy Jeff Brown has inherited is simple – subject matter is subordinate to the essential demands of painting itself. Brown’s concern is primarily with the physical nature of paint, the properties of colour, surface and surround. Like Fowler and Woollaston, he ‘builds’ a painting. His work is free of literary and social connotation. 

Brown’s work has been influenced by New Zealand artists such as Toss Wollaston and Philip Trusttum (the James Wallace Arts Trust having the largest collection of both of these artists) of whom Brown believes he shares a common view…

“Like Wollaston and Trusttum I think I have a very individual belief in art, I’ve purposely taken myself out of the mainstream to work, so I can just get on with it.” ( 2)

(1) New Works 1992, National Art Gallery and Museum.
(2) Jeff Brown, New Works 1992, National Art Gallery and Museum.

 Mark Braunias
Paramount Award 1992
Mark Braunias was the first ever Paramount Award Winner with his work “Roll-Call”.

Mark Braunias was the first ever Paramount Award Winner with his work Roll-Call

Renowned New Zealand painter Mark Braunias has works in major public and private collections throughout New Zealand.

’Braunias’s work comments on nostalgic notions of New Zealand’s national identity and has developed into an investigation of the social fabric on a more universal level. The artist maps the nation’s funny bone, incorporating language, vibrant colour and imagery to define a distinctive grass roots humour in the substrata of New Zealand culture. Radio talkback, pop idols, café culture and internet chat-rooms, early comics and cartoons, boxing magazines, record covers and music magazines are all referenced in his work. Through a single-minded exploration of form and line, Braunias has developed an extensive repertoire of distinctive forms, some cartoon-like, some abstract, which he documents in journals at an almost infectious rate. The imagery in these journals are revisited and reworked, creating a finely tuned and highly fertile oeuvre.’(1) 

 (1)  Courtesy of Ferner Galleries ( http://www.ferner.co.nz/ )