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Greig’s legacy goes on show

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

The works of a Wairarapa-based potter, whose career was cut short when he died in 1986, will be displayed at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt.

The exhibition, Defying Gravity, which opens on December 10, will be the first comprehensive exhibition of his work in a major gallery in New Zealand since his death.

James Greig 1974. PHOTO/GRAEME GILLIES
James Greig 1974. PHOTO/GRAEME GILLIES

Greig, who lived with his wife, Rhondda, in a colonial house, nestled among Matarawa farmland in rural Carterton, died of a heart attack, aged 50, in Kyoto, Japan.

He was hugely inspired by Japan, visiting and exhibiting work there many times.

He had a “real affinity” for the country, a sentiment that was reciprocated there as he received a lot of support.

From an early point in his art career, Greig used clay to create works inspired by land and plant forms, water and the human body.

He grew to understand the physical qualities of clay by moulding and building sculptural forms, sometimes too big for him to move alone.

Exploring the dynamic nature of the medium, he melded slabs together to create almost impossible structures. Expressing his values through clay, he brought life and movement to inert objects.

Greig’s exhibition seeks to unpack the potter’s practice, share his vision and work with today’s audience, and acknowledge his unique approach which reconfigured the boundaries between ceramics and sculpture.

 

James Greig, Bowl, 1982. Collection of Rhondda Greig Family. PHOTO/FRANK CASEY
James Greig, Bowl, 1982. Collection of Rhondda Greig Family. PHOTO/FRANK CASEY
James Greig, Expanding and contracting form. PHOTO/FRANK CASEY
James Greig, Expanding and contracting form. PHOTO/FRANK CASEY

 

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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