One of New Zealand’s finest self-taught artists, John Edgar is a master of his craft. Working in stone for more than twenty years, his technique and abilities reflects both his strong links with and passion for the environment. They reflect what we do with it and the unfortunate damage caused.
Edgar’s work sits with a quiet elegance, ready to be warmed by human contact. Just as the varieties of stone he works with lie in wait all over the world, ready to be transformed by his unique ideas.
Edgar travels annually on prospecting tours, selecting the best specimens he can find in India, Scotland and locally. He regularly works with Coromandel granite and common New Zealand greywacke river stones. In recent years he has become a fan of Indian limestone.
His works contrast stones by inserting crosses and lines, mimicking mathematical symbols, but also working the contrasting stone down to differing levels. The degree of accuracy needed to achieve this minute work is outstanding. The margin for error is negligible. The proof is in the work itself.
Edgar has been exhibiting his work in solo exhibitions since 1979 both in New Zealand and Australia. He has been included in several curated exhibitions, which have toured nation-wide, and is represented in several public and private collections in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. In 2008 Edgar mounted a major exhibition in Edinburgh with works made from Scottish-sourced stone.
For thirty years I have been trying to make good sense in my art. I have attempted to imbue my work with both the essence of the mountain, the river and the vast array of knowledge that is available to us in the 21st century. It’s a difficult task to teach a stone to talk. But if you listen carefully you might just catch a word or two – John Edgar, 2006