Dick Frizzell: Images in an Artist's Heart

There are some surprises in Frizzell’s choice of paintings, writes Peter Simpson

Book review: It’s All About The Image by Dick Frizzell (Godwit $65)

It’s hard to avoid Dick Frizzell these days; whether it is paintings or wine or T-shirts or books or items on TV and in magazines – he is all over the place. Perhaps he is this generation’s equivalent of what Peter McIntyre was in the post-war decades, an artist with a popular style who parlayed his popularity into a range of other activities such as best-selling books.

As it happens, McIntyre has a role to play in Frizzell’s latest venture, a collection of 100 of his favourite New Zealand paintings. In his chatty introduction he recalls as a lad in Hawke’s Bay watching McIntyre working on a mural in the Hastings War Memorial Library.

“He painted some small rocks on the desert sand at the feet of the soldiers and, with what seemed like just a couple of brushstrokes, he rendered the texture of the rock, the sun on the rock, the reflected light on the shady side of the rock, and the shadow of the rock on the sand. The entire universe right there. With a brush and some paint, I’ve been trying to be that clever ever since.”

McIntyre’s kind of art has long been out of favour with many sophisticated art followers, but that is no barrier to his being lauded by Frizzell who revels in the manifestations of popular culture which he has so successfully appropriated for his own art.

Frizzell’s favourites include a fair number of artists who are not now rated highly by the experts, such as Cedric Savage, Nugent Welsh, Archibald Nicoll and Austen Deans – all landscape painters it may be noted, a style of art that Frizzell has done a good deal to rehabilitate through his own accomplished practice (though landscape is far from being his only mode). Read More

November 23, 2011
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