Born in 1951, Nigel Buxton trained at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London and in 1981, moved to New Zealand. He has exhibited regularly in group and solo shows and is resident in Christchurch.
The most persistent theme in Nigel Buxton’s work, one that has engaged him for thirty years or more, is ‘still-life’. But perhaps the word ‘interior’ more aptly describes Buxton’s approach. He evokes space by mapping the shimmering dimensions between objects, the studio walls, the easel and himself. These works are drawn and redrawn. Time is a crucial factor in the evolution of each image as he makes repeated returns to the studio, reengaging with the subject each time, and each day seeing the subject afresh.
Still-life / Interior is by no means Buxton’s only theme. In 1997 his interest in music provided a new subject. Using the musical scores of operas he created imaginative works, which dealt with emotive themes in an abstract yet lyrical way. His series Bluebeard’s Castle, paintings inspired by the opera of the same name by Bela Bartok, was exhibited at the Christchurch Art Gallery in 2003. Projected images from this series were used as part of the 2006 staging of the opera in Auckland.
In 2009/10 Buxton made a series of large paste-ups which he exhibited in the shows From Still to Life and Capriccios. In these drawn over digital collages he juxtaposed studio elements with figures borrowed from paintings by Matisse, Picasso and Watteau, or with costumed models he had photographed then printed out life-size and pasted into fresh compositions. This led to a set of digital prints called, This Pioneering Life, in which European immigrants extracted from 18thC paintings were placed, as if marooned, in rural New Zealand landscapes.
His 2012 Compositions marked a return to the still-life theme. In these ink and chalk drawings the work is more intimate, the space more abstract, the compositions simple and clear. In 2015 he produced the exhibition WILLOW which brings together large drawings from 1984/85 with new works that develop the original idea into paintings and large-scale ‘drawings’ which combine manipulated photographic material with oil paint and the intensity of chalk pastel.
In 1995 Nigel was awarded first prize in the Cranleigh Barton Drawing Award and in the same year was a finalist in the Wallace Art Award. Works of his are included in the Christchurch Art Gallery and Wallace Collections.