[www.jamesrobinson.co.nz] [writing] [painting]


this is a new video of recent exhibition in southland nz museum "painting from the end of the world"
other videos listed below

curated by irene schroader ..as part of the southland art societys residency program.

(catalog available with essay by cilla mcqueen nz poet lauriette. email me


ive been makieng art for 25 years and have shown in a broad range of public gallerys and museums and dealer gallerys and artist run spaces in nz.

2007 i won the wallace award with a developmnetal residency at ISCP studios in new york city.

i normally work in port chalmers duendin in the south island of new zeland. but have worked and shown in many various other centres with residencys and scholarships. for example

auckland mchcaon house in 2007
berlin takt residency 2008
whanganui tylee cottage 2009
southland william hodges residency 2013
and currantly dunmoochin foundation melbourne victoria

my work is known for its confrontational and honest emotive and inventive mixed media expressionist surreal indiginously inspired intensity . (informed strongly by maori culture of my home and growing up in sociel justice activist environment...(cont in writeing link above)

note; painting link above is a recent small sample of many years and shows that have "flowed under the bridge"

for contact


i am working in development
in a art colony in the bush outside melbourne australia
dunmoochin foundation

happening now..in aotearoa

SMAG (southland museum and art gallery-invercargill)
william hodges fellow culmination show
june 14th august 15th

"paintings from the end of the world"
with catalog and essay by cilla mcqueen available
(added below scroll down.)

MILLENIUM public GALLERY blenheim nz
invited to show in dark side light side..mid winter exhibition. a large abstract painting and paper works.
june 24th 2014

SEED gallery newmarket auckland

recent works on paper
...june 24th
selection of small works

to order a individual book of a edited selection of the body of works



Barbara Speedy
The Diversion Gallery
5A Ground Floor, 10 London Quay, Picton
(waterfront, Picton)
Postal: PO Box 558 Picton 7250
Tel +64 +274 408 121
Landline: +64 +3 5739069
email bspeedy@thediversion.co.nz

"PROCESS (skins)"

( gallery re opening in november)

192 Bealey Ave
Christchurch 8013
New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 366 8487



VIDEOS OF recent SHOWS and archive of process and performaces of past in the youtube channel. (feedback welcome)

ARTBOX may 2014
"reciever transmitter"
curater by grant banbury martin trustrum and my self.

mint gallery duendin JUNE 2014

to order a book from the show visit

eastern southland gallery august 2013

various videos from previous exhibitions and studios and openings in my youtube channel -james robinson-

accompanying the southland exhibition that is on now "paintings from the end of the world"

‘the stress fractures of this society’s body politic coming apart on us.’
(David Eggleton)
James Robinson’s paintings recombine shards of a vision, the representation of which has required its own destruction, to create works of resonance and maturity.
Something has happened here under the surface: a battle or a riot, leaving debris. Destabilising forces of anxiety driving clashes of paint and canvas are countered by
an art that channels chaotic raw materials into vibrant fields of balance and control.
In Southland, the relationship between man and nature is of primary importance, nature being the loveliest as well as the harshest thing we know. The artistic terrain of this work might be said to be of southern character: discerning, uncompromising, resilient. Respectful of the authentic, grounded here.
The idea of ‘home’ suggests recognition and belonging, a secure location that connects with, and provides shelter from, the outside world. If ‘home’ is Southland, to look inside these paintings might take us to the core of Robinson’s art, as if to the heart of the landscape.
Art takes place in the here and now. Robinson’s artistic development is evident in the ‘shedding of skins’, a process of getting to the point and taking responsibility. There’s a desire to rejig, to simplify. The paintings pare away what is unnecessary in a search for integrity and harmony.
What you see in a painting is your business. It’s good business, a vital circuit running between the observer and the thing observed, continuously created and resolved by our interactions with the art. For instance, these ad hoc constructions of pre-stressed materials gathered from the extreme edge of experience: tracking inwards, we might find we’re looking at some minutiae of nature and human life magnified way out of scale. Stepping back, it is apparent that the fragments compose themselves into coherent fields.
The poets of Te Waipounamu have in common an uncompromising attitude, clarity of vision, discipline and an enduring relationship with the land. I think the poetry of Richard Reeve makes a good accompaniment to the flavours offered here. The quotes
in italics are from his 2004 collection, The Life and the Dark.
What you make of a painting depends on where you’re coming from. ‘Entry’ could be read as a fragment of ruined mural of great antiquity, a palimpsest through whose layering intention and meaning have become blurred and rendered inaccessible. On the other hand, a very different imaginative journey might be prompted by the poet’s perception: ‘this rained shadow of ourselves, set free/ Like sunlight among reeds,// Quivers among the forest and the rock.’
The title of ‘Oblivion’ suggests catastrophe and annihilation or, conversely, the intimate patterns and colours of rock or gemstone inside the earth, ‘locked in its state/ of inscrutable/ being’.
Fortuitous, minute treatments of texture in ‘Datastorm’ convey a comment on the frenetic digital environment. Or they represent some patchwork satellite photography of strange terrain, on earth or elsewhere. Or they are simply intuitive and pragmatic arrangements of natural elements, their shapes and shadows (the view is fractured) in colours of water, air and rock. Lessons in ‘unlearning the diocese of mind’.
The cut, distressed surface of ‘Crisis’ is like the skin of an abraded, scarified survivor, a shocking remnant of collapsed civilization, in a work operating at the margins of aesthetics and sense. Yet Reeve’s lines, ‘each drubbed, bare stump is perpetual,/ part of the coeval/ light/ that/ is’ bring to mind the weird light of deep bush, the hard going, natural muck and effort of encounters with the land, core mysteries of time and matter. That light ‘flickering over drought-runted rocks/ its there-am-I, faceless/ investigations:/ grinding, grappling the rust-pricked pleat/ in alluvial granite/ ore’.
Robinson’s vocabulary of textural accident reflects the intense engagement of the artist with perennial questions of how to live, paint, be. Whether his works are read as abstract metaphysical forms or as elemental mark-making, as chance arrangements or as sophisticated explorations of technique, the subtle rhythms of his elements produce an overall impression of natural elegance.
Questions raised by encounters with wilderness deepen understanding to bring about a grounding, of sorts. The sloughing of skins allows new growth. Robinson’s art is resilient, intuitive and able to discipline the impulse to put colour, line, texture and shape there, like this. Harsh conditions, as our fishermen know, breed a toughness of soul and a feeling of ‘home’.
Cilla McQueen

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