Jim Dine (b 1935) is a well-known American 'Pop' artist (painter, sculptor, printmaker, illustrator, performance artist, stage designer, and poet) of the twentieth century. 'Pop Art' is a form of 'Contemporary Art' that derives its ideas from commonplace to unique materialistic objects, such as packaging of products, advertisements, comic strips, and photographs of celebrities. Dine has repeatedly used ordinary and familiar objects of personal significance in his paintings. These objects usually are bathrobes, hearts, birds, flowers, hands, or tools. The painter depicts his popular 'heart' in his most famous painting
o A NZ impressionist artist born in Auckland 1941. o She is known for her abstract use of colour over colour and unusual choices of subjects to paint. she paints items such as fish, splitting pumpkins and a couch. o Taking inspiration from her immediate environment her work depicts domestic scenes infused with wit and imagination, reflecting the joys, sorrows, struggles and frustrations of daily existence.
It all happens on the couch, from conception to death, many of life's defining moments occur between upholstered arms. The body may be in repose, supported by a familiar piece of furniture, while the cerebral functions are working overtime...or not as the case may be. Reclining on the couch enjoying precious moments of peace and solitude, secure from stress and tribulation, our minds are free to wander and imagine as we read, watch television or just dream. Here, on the couch, much social interaction takes place, whether intellectual discourse or merely the exchange of trivial gossip that bonds family, lovers and friends. Minds meet to debate world affairs, hatch plots, manipulate and deceive. A couch can also provide a stage for more dramatic incidents of love, passion or violent disagreement. Chairs hold no prejudice, benignly giving support to everything that is perched upon them. Clean, dirty, people in good humour or those recovering from illness or just lonely, frightened souls hiding from the outside world all are received and held. In the public sphere, we choose not to linger on the neutral surfaces of seats in waiting rooms at dentists; hospitals or railway stations our thoughts preoccupied with our destination, an impending procedure or perhaps news about a newborn baby coming into the world. We are forced to shun the over-stuffed menacing satin of a grand museum piece, only to sink with weary gratitude onto a rough wooden bench, revelling in the luxury of being off our feet after many hours spent discovering new places. Couches, sofas, settees, chairs have many guises. Not only do these objects of repose provide security and comfort in an uncertain world, they can also illustrate a sense of style or cultural heritage and signify status or aspirations for a higher status, in the community. A chair or couch can retain traces of the physical characteristics and even the personality of a habitual occupant and so the banality of these commonplace objects with which we share our lives and look at so often that we cease to even see them may be transformed and made beautiful.
Philip Clairmont was one of the success stories of New Zealand painting in the 1970s. In under a decade he rose to the heights of the NZ art game, fomenting a reputation as a brilliant painter, wildman, enfant terrible, a visionary seemingly without limits. As Colin McCahon said: "He's one of the best, one of the very best." Clairmont painted domestic interiors, mundane objects and vibrant figures, fiery portraits and blistering self portraits, nudes, crucifixions - all in an intense, distinct, hallucinogenic style (borrowing from German Expressionism, medieval masters, underground comics and psychedelic head art all intertwined with a rock and roll approach). He gave blazing light to a whole household of objects; creating iconic images now studied in art galleries and classrooms across NZ. He scarred couches, opened windows into other worlds, made light bulbs explode, set fireplaces ablaze, made clotheslines spin, sinks wink and eyes pop out of peoples heads.