One of New Zealand’s finest self-taught artists, John Edgar was a master of his craft. Spanning a career of over fifty years, John Edgar died on 3 April 2021. A great loss for the Arts and a man who will be missed by many.
“Edgar has been slicing, altering and reassembling banded stones since the early 1980s; it is perhaps his signature mark as a stone sculptor. They range from pebble-sized stones that can be held in the palm of your hand….to the towering red and grey granite-banded Transformer (2004) in the Auckland Domain that reaches to more than three-and-a-half metres”. (Peter Simpson, “Array, Arc & Ballast, Art New Zealand, Summer 2009)
In 2009 he became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to art, in particular sculpture. In the same year Edgar mounted a major exhibition Ballast in Edinburgh, with works made from Scottish-sourced stone.
Key stages in his career have been covered with nationally touring exhibitions Calculus 2002-2004, Lie of the Land 1998-1999, Cross Country 1996 and Making Amends 1993-1995. In 2012, his sculpture Lie of the Land was installed in the Savill Garden, the New Zealand Garden at Windsor, United Kingdom.
His public sculptures in Auckland are in the Auckland Domain, Queen Street and Waitakere City Civic Centre. Edgar was actively involved in conservation and environmental projects and was the President of the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society for thirteen years. He was also on the Trust Board of the Corbans Estate Arts Centre.