Harry Watson

ABOUT HARRY WATSON

Harry is a skilled carver who is completely self-taught, first inspired by the saints, angels and reliquaries of the churches of medieval Europe. In the mid-1990s his work adopted a New Zealand focus, and now he melds myths, traditions and techniques from Māori and Pākehā cultures.

Much of Harry Watson’s work reflects upon Aotearoa’s social and political history and the actions of its protagonists, especially influential characters from New Zealand’s colonial past.

Another prominent theme the emerges in Watson’s oeuvre is the us of birds as a metaphors for post-colonialism. He has chosen to study and carve species such as the sparrow, starling, and rook, which were introduced into New Zealand and have subsequently been deemed as pests.

Although Harry often deals with serious or thought-provoking issues, the quirky and fun are just as important. In addition, every work demonstrates his technical abilities as a wood carver – an occupation reminiscent of the times he looks to for inspiration:
“When I go into my workshop it’s as though I go into the past using old methods to dwell on old times. It’s an escape space from the reality of modern life, a place things are simple and don’t have to be real”, he says.

SELECTED SOLO & GROUP SHOWS

2013
Harry Watson, Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington

2011
Between Earth & Sky, Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington

2010
Back & Beyond & Here, Museum of Wellington City & Sea, Wellington

2008
From Left to Right, Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington

2007
Pakeha Now!, Suter Gallery, Nelson
SCULPTURE, Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington
Ae AM, Page Blackie Gallery

2006
To Catch a Butterfly, Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington
Back and Forth, Aratoi: Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Masterton (with Megan J. Campbell)
Page Blackie Gallery stand, Melbourne Art Fair, Melbourne, Australia

2005
Natale, Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington
Auckland Art Fair, Britomart Events Pavilion, Auckland
FHE Galleries, Auckland

2004
Left at the Members Lounge, Object Space, Auckland (group exhibition)
FHE Galleries, Auckland

2003
The Ante Room, Aratoi: Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Masterton

2001
Anderson Fernyhough Gallery, Auckland

1998
Commission, Governor Sir George Grey sculpture, Greytown

AWARDS

2006
Visual Arts Funding award, Creatve New Zealand

2003
Wallace Art Awards, finalist

2001
Wairarapa Arts Review, Wairarapa Art and History Museum, first prize

1999
Wairarapa Arts Review, Wairarapap Art and History Museum, third prize

1998
Golden C’art National Art Award, merit prize

1997
Golden C’art National Art Award, first prize

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Anna-Marie White, Pakeha Now!, exhibition catalogue (The Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatu, 2007).
Tinakori Gallery, Natale: Harry Watson and Represented Artists, exhibition catalogue, 2005
Christopher Harrod, New Zealand Art Monthly, March 2006
Gregory O’Brien, Welcome to the South Seas: Contemporary New Zealand Art for Young People (Auckland University Press, 2004).

COLLECTIONS

The New Dowse, Lower Hutt
Real Art Roadshow, New Zealand
Private collections within New Zealand