The art of John Papas is characterised by rich materiality. The artist's oil paintings have a great brilliance and depth of colour. Papas comments of his medium: "I love the lusciousness of paint. llike the paint to speak for itself."

The figure and landscape has been an ongoing subject throughout the artist's career in various guises. Rather than strictly representational renderings of landscape, much of Papas' work captures the mood and character of a place. He achieves this by the gestural application of many layers of colour to the canvas. In addition to painting, Papas also works in medium such as ceramics, copper, stainless steel and Perspex in three-dimensional works.

Papas frequently travels to Europe for inspiration. It was the desire to discover his Greek heritage that first took him to Greece to visit the archaeological sites, sculpture and art. Throughout his career Papas has revisited the mythology and history of Greece that first moved him, in series in Homage to Alexander and Greek Myths. The landscape and history of locales have also inspired works Venice and Howth. The artist has captured the atmosphere of locales to which he has journeyed. In his recent Prague series, the artist imparts a feel for the rich texture of the surfaces of buildings. Amidst layers of thin washes of paint are monuments, whose solidity is balanced by the soft and lively birds and flowers. Similarly, the Constant Series featured in historic architecture that has been revitalised and given a new life as a modern theatre.

Closer to home, Papas has painted the powerful volcanic landscape of Tarawera in the middle of New Zealand's North Island, and the area between sea and land, the "strata" of the West Coast.

In his recent Solitude Series, Papas utilises the figure to convey emotion. At the time, a number of the artist's friends were going through the lonely experience of packing up their belongings and moving house. Papas was haunted by the image of a solitary figure in a darkened room, and this subject gave birth to the major work of this series, The Emotion of Loneliness (2002). In other small-scale works, the artist isolates part of the body to dramatic effect, and the nude figure is a vehicle for revealing the strength and vulnerability of the human condition.


EXHIBITIONS (SELECTED)
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2007
Sanderson Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand

2006
South Coast Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand
Sanderson Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand

2005
Artigiano Galley Parnell, Auckland
Wellington Art Gallery Wellington
Rotorua Museum Rotorua
Scott-Ormond Gallery Napier

2004
Ardor Gallery Parnell, Auckland
Marina Gallery Whangarei
Rope Gallery Dargaville
Ardor Gallery Parnell, Auckland

2003
Ardor Gallery Parnell, Auckland
Rope Gallery Dargaville

2002
Ardor Gallery Parnell, Auckland
NZ Sculpture Takapuna, Auckland

2001
Warwick Henderson Gallery Auckland

1993
Trigam Gallery Hong Kong

1992
Portfolio Gallery Auckland
Savill Gallery Wellington

1991
Portfolio Gallery Auckland
Louise Beale Gallery Wellington

1990
Portfolio Gallery Auckland

1989
Louise Beale Gallery Wellington

1988
CSA Gallery Christchurch

1963-1987
Various galleries


NOTABLE PUBLIC COMMISSION
………………………………………
Mobil House - Wellington
Auckland Airport - Manukau City
Air New Zealand - Brisbane, Christchurch, Los Angeles
Cathay Pacific – Auckland


AWARDS
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1982 ICI Bursary Award

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
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Hocken Pictorial Collections
Dunedin Art Gallery
Te Papa
Waikato Museum
Victoria University
Otago University
Government of New Zealand
Government of Greece
Government of the United Kingdom


PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
……………………………
Rutherford Trust, Wellington
Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland


CORPORATE COLLECTIONS (SELECTED)
………………………………………………
Royal New Zealand Post
Fletcher Challenge
Ernst & Young
Auckland Airport
Air New Zealand
Cathay Pacific

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