Born in Christchurch, 1947, William (Bill) Hammond attended the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts from 1966-68. He has exhibited extensively since then and his work is held in major public and private collections throughout New Zealand. Bill’s work was included in Distance Looks Our Way: Ten Artists from New Zealand (1991-92), a group exhibition at the International Expo in Seville, Spain; Headlands: Thinking Through New Zealand Art (1992) at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; the 2000 Biennale of Sydney; and Paradise Now? Contemporary Art from the Pacific at the Asia Society Museum in New York (2004). 23 Big Pictures, a survey show curated by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery toured the country in 1999-2000. In 2007, Jingle Jangle Morning, a major retrospective, was curated by the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, who also published an accompanying catalogue. Jingle Jangle Morning was also exhibited at City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi, 2007-2008.
Strongly figurative and graphic, Hammond’s work of the 80’s drew on comic strip imagery, popular culture and his own darkly comic observation. He restaged the commonplace into the suburban heartland, amongst urban details or theatrically arranged across patterned and stylized landscapes that somehow seem interior. Often jam-packed into dizzying perspectives these images at once confound and entrance the viewer.
The 90’s saw the emergence of his bird imagery. Initially from Buller’s drawings of our native species, the birds in Hammond’s work have evolved with a full set of human characteristics. He sets them, often clothed, in bars and rooms pursuing human aims. More frequently, however, they are arranged in complete worlds of naturalistic, almost surrealistic space, relating socially in a narrative with no central thread. Hammond also bends and manipulates the figurative elements in his work to engineer the image and in this way the birds at times become simple visual devices used by the artist to develop three-dimensional space and control the composition.
Bill Hammond’s paintings, prints and drawings are included in public and private collections both in New Zealand and off shore.