STEPHEN BAMBURY | Slow Burn (Redux)

March 20 — May 11, 2024

    We are delighted to present Slow Burn (Redux), Stephen Bambury’s first solo exhibition in Auckland since 2019. Following covid-related delays, Bambury delivers significant bodies of new work, alongside a curated selection of earlier works which speak eloquently to his current concerns. Never a formalist, and having always insisted that his painting creates a context where an experiential exchange can take place, Bambury allowed meaning to sit obliquely. Galvanised by the urgency of humanity’s challenges in the current decade, the end of which marks the oft-quoted 2030 ‘tipping point’ beyond which planetary changes might well be outside human capacity for mitigation, Bambury gives potent voice in these new works to foregrounded meaning. As Bambury says, The world is an idea, the planet is a reality. The planet will go on turning but the world won’t.

    Throughout his career, Bambury has travelled extensively in Europe, Asia, and the USA, exploring art and architecture from a diversity of historic periods and cultures. These experiences are integral to his long studio practice, not peripheral pleasures. Bambury has long practised reconnecting contemporary art to threads of the atavistic, understanding how this can amplify subtle connections and inspirations. Slow Burn (Redux) carries dual allusions to the situation humanity now finds itself in and Bambury’s sustained material and motif explorations over time. These practices eventually coalesce as a life’s work, and we are delighted to announce that in 2025 we will be presenting an exhibition marking five decades of Bambury’s public exhibiting.

    Employing an exceptional range of scale, Bambury has consistently explored and reconnected the apparent dualities of light / dark, negative / positive, masculine / feminine, the sea and the land, the intellectual and emotional and the universal and the particular. His dedicated investigation of materiality drives Bambury’s practice and delivers a visually rich and compelling exhibition. Exhibited works utilise precious and semi-precious metal gilding, graphite, resin, chemical patinas, rust, screen printing and pigment prints alongside the artist’s various studio produced paints.

    Born in Christchurch, Stephen Bambury has been exhibiting regularly in New Zealand since the mid-1970s, after graduating with a Diploma of Fine Arts (Hons) from the University of Auckland. From the mid-1980s he has exhibited in the USA, Australia, France, Germany, Austria and Slovenia. Among other awards he received the inaugural New Zealand Moët & Chandon Fellowship in 1989; including the Fellowship period, Bambury spent two and a half years living and working in France – a life-changing experience. A major retrospective exhibition at Wellington’s City Gallery and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and the publication of a monograph marked the turn of the century. Since 2009 Bambury has been showing and is represented in Germany. In 2017 he established a studio in France, since then dividing his time working between New Zealand and Europe.

    • Installation view
    • Sight Line (XXXI), 2024
      Chemical action and acrylic on four copper panels and aluminium extrusion
      183 x 360 mm
    • Installation view
    • Detail - World Still Turning (a work in seven parts), 2008/2022
      Seven framed inkjet prints on Hahnemuhle 300gsm photorag paper
      840 x 7968 mm
    • Twenty Thirty (IX) (Night/Day), 2023
      Lacquer & chemical action on two copper panels on ply
      170 x 340 mm
    • The Turning of the Bones, 2019
      Acrylic and 24k gold leaf on three aluminium panels on plywood
      170 x 255 mm
    • Paradox of Knowledge (Purpleheart) 2022
      Turned purpleheart wood and 23k gold
      150 x 150 mm
    • Twenty Thirty (XI), 2023
      Lacquer & chemical action on two copper panels on ply
      170 x 340 mm