Robert C Withers
Robert C Withers comes from a long line of New Zealand artists, with his father teaching him to paint, himself a landscape painter. After undertaking design school in Wellington and several jobs, including playing bass in 'art school punk bands’ he and his wife moved to Auckland, then to Sydney. There he spends his time both pursuing art and a design career.
His work draws from not only the New Zealand landscape tradition, but also from cubist influences, such as Edward Hopper, Colin McCahon and Jeffrey Smart. Although in the past he has used oils commonly associated with the landscape tradition, he is currently using large sheets of extremely heavy GSM watercolour paper, ink and spray paint for 2D work. His 3D work uses found materials, heavy card and all sorts of paint.
Although a self-described ‘landscape artist’, his work reacts strongly to his inner-city environment. Instead of the traditional New Zealand greenery, Withers reflects his ‘new’ surroundings -‘the patina, the vernacular typography, the filth and complete obliviousness we have to such surroundings’. This act of recording concentrates on the parts of the cityscape that symbolise and describe rather than simply represent.
In an act of recording and study, Withers’ practice is taking down his observations, and constantly reviewing past notes for newly relevant patterns. Looking for patterns and matches that may not have had relevance before, but now make sense ensures nothing is lost.