Jim Speers
Paramount Award
Jim Speers was the winner of the Paramount Award for his work “English Electric”.

Jim Speers was the winner of the Paramount Award for his work English Electric

Speers said of this work “I want to rekindle those warm feelings that you get as night is falling and you’re walking towards the fish and chips shop and you see the neon light and think “Oh, that’s a nice sign”. Speers describes his work as “the banal … the random sequence of memory … unimportant things … what I see at my feet … or some small thing you may see walking into a house, you know, at the corner of your vision, like light coming through a ranch-slider door”. Speers received $35,000 for a six-month residency in the U.K.residency in association with the Link Foundation with airfares, and a bronze trophy by leading New Zealand sculptor Terry Stringer.

Sculptor Jim Speers is known for his atmospheric and allusive industrial constructions. He is a sculptor who ‘at once represents the glamorous veneers that surface public buildings, and makes an expose of some of the grime, flimsiness and rough edges that get swept under the carpet.’(1) Speers deftly manipulates light with his light boxes, illuminating space with colour that can vary between radiating a warmth and ambience, to re-creating the callous lucidity of neon signage. Speers creates atmosphere, his compositions consisting of colour and text that have their base in painterly concerns, yet alludes to the tacky underworld of signage and advertising much like the New Image painters of the 70’s and 80’s. Though his artistic style is definitive, ‘the titles and compositions of Speers’ works intrigue, a definitive meaning is elusive.’(2)

(1) Courtesy of The Physics Room (http://www.physicsroom.org.nz/
(2) Pennie Hunt, Curatorial Assistant in the Centre for New Zealand Art Research and Discovery.