A retrospective exhibition gives this Kiwi artist’s work new shape

Article by Home Magazine

Revered in Japan, yet relatively unknown at home, this retrospective exhibition gives new shape to the abstract ceramic art of James Greig


A retrospective exhibition gives this Kiwi artist’s work new shape

Modernist architecture, Eastern and Western philosophies, nature and the human body all informed James Greig’s abstract ceramic art. A retrospective of his work, ‘James Greig: Defying Gravity’ takes the lead exhibition over summer at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt, featuring pieces from his private collection that have never been exhibited.


Born in 1936, the Wairarapa-based artist studied architecture, then went on to study pottery under Len Castle, who became his mentor. As an established potter in the 1980s, Greig became well known internationally and was appointed as one of New Zealand’s cultural ambassadors.


Revered in Japan, the artist died of a heart attack in 1986 while exhibiting in Kyoto: he was 50 years old. Since his death, two memorial exhibitions of his work have been held in Japan, yet he is relatively unknown in New Zealand.

The majority of Greig’s works are on loan to the Dowse by Greig’s wife Rhondda and Te Papa, which recently purchased about 15 pieces of his work. The exhibition runs from 10 December to 12 March, 2017.


Also open over summer is ‘Solo’ (until 2 April, 2017), a biennial exhibition showcasing the work of Wellington artists Neil Pardington, Erica van Zon, Jordana Bragg, Karl Fritsch and Crystal Chain Gang.

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