Grahame Sydney has become one of New Zealand’s most significant and enduring artists. His work spans over 4 decades and encompasses oils, watercolours, egg tempera, lithographs, etching and photography. Rarely exhibiting, Grahame’s works are held in private collections through-out the world and represented in the collections of New Zealand’s major galleries and museums. Always a meticulously slow worker, he generally produces no more than six works a year.
Sydney was born in Dunedin in 1948, from a young age his talent and love of drawing was evident in his numerous drawings of Disney characters. The majestic environment of his early years growing up in Otago continues to be referenced in his mature works.
Over the last decade, since moving to live in the heart of Central Otago, Sydney has recorded on film the unique beauty, seductive austerity and magnificent seasonal extremes of the region known to the first Otago settlers as ‘The Wasteland’. Wasteland no more, Central Otago retains a vivid sense of the untouched, natural landscape, which separates it from the rest of the nation.
Largely self-taught, Sydney is best known for his landscapes of Central Otago. His work encompasses oils, watercolours, egg tempera, lithographs, etchings and photography.
Sydney is a clever magician who plies his craft with great skill and subtlety, making paintings that are seemingly simple, but their plain reality tenders deeper emotions than simple recognition. You don’t see the land here, you feel it… These hills, these skies give us a voice that is unique, a voice that is evoked by the art of Grahame Sydney. It is the voice of us all. – Keith Stewart
Sydney’s first solo show was at the Moray Gallery, Dunedin, in 1972. He then spent the following two years travelling through Europe, before returning to Dunedin and to life as a full-time painter. Sydney enjoyed early success as an artist and continues to command admirable interest as one of New Zealand’s most renowned artistic talents.
In 2004 Sydney was awarded the illustrious New Zealand Order of Merit for ‘Services to Painting’. Sydney has held numerous solo shows throughout New Zealand and his work is included in a variety of national and international collections, both public and private.
Grahame Sydney’s limited edition prints & photographs are available to purchase through our Editions page on our website.
2014 – Grahame Sydney Paintings: 1974 – 2014, Essay by Vincent O’Sullivan
2011 – Grahame Sydney’s Central Otago, Grahame Sydney
2010 – Timeless Land, Grahame Sydney, Brian Turner, Owen Marshall
2009 – Promised Land, Grahame Sydney
2008 – White Silence : Grahame Sydney’s Antarctica, Grahame Sydney
2003 – The Art of Grahame Sydney, Grahame Sydney, Michael Findlay, Belinda Jones, Reg Graham, Brian Turner
1967–69 University of Otago, graduating BA (English and Geography)
1970 Secondary Teacher’s College, Christchurch
Museum of New Zealand Te papa Tongarewa, Wellington
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Christchurch
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland
Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin
Te Manawa Museum of Art Science and History, Palmerston North
Private collections through-out New Zealand and the world.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2011 – 2012 – Grahame Sydney: Down SouthRecent Paintings 2001 – 2011 – Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures, Porirua.
Grahame Sydney, The Diversion Gallery, Malborough.
2008 – Grahame Sydney, New Photographs, Antarctica. Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington.
2007 – Grahame Sydney: Photographs of Antarctica. Christchurch Public Art Gallery. Also at Amisfield Gallery, Queenstown; Artis Gallery, Auckland; Salamander Gallery, Christchurch.
2005/06 – Grahame Sydney: Etching and Lithographs. Eastern Southland Art Gallery, Gore. Also at Lakes District Museum, Arrowtown; Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch; Ashburton Art Gallery, Ashburton: Whangarei Art Museum, Whangarei.
1999 – 2002 – On the Road: Thirty Five Paintings by Grahame Sydney. Toured by Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin. Also at Pataka, Porirua Museum of Arts and Cultures, Porirua; Hawkes Bay Exhibition Centre, Hastings; Suter Art Gallery, Nelson; Millennium Public Art Gallery, Blenheim; Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch; Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland; Southland Art Gallery, Invercargill; Aigantighe Art Gallery, Timaru; Ashburton Art Gallery, Ashburton; Rotorua Museum of Art & History, Rotorua; Manawatu Art Gallery, Palmerston North.
2001 – Grahame Sydney: Works on Paper. Tinakori Gallery, Wellington.
1999 – Regions of the Heart: A Grahame Sydney Retrospective. Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin.
De Profundis: Prints by Grahame Sydney. Hocken Library Collection, University of Otago, Dunedin.
1997 – The Landscape and the Figure 1975 – 1997. Forrester Gallery, Oamaru.
1995 – Grahame Sydney: Recent Paintings. Claybrook Gallery, Auckland.
1992 – Grahame Sydney: Recent Paintings. Carnegie Gallery, Dunedin.
Grahame Sydney: Paintings and Lithographs. Ritchies Contemporary, Christchurch.
1989 – Grahame Sydney: Recent Studies. Janne Land Gallery, Wellington.
1988 – Grahame Sydney: Recent Works. Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin.
1987 – Grahame Sydney: Paintings, Drawings and Etchings. Janne Land Gallery, Wellington.
1986 – Grahame Sydney: Recent Works. Marshall Seifert Gallery, Dunedin.
1982 – Grahame Sydney: New Etchings. Denis Cohn Gallery, Auckland.
Grahame Sydney: Paintings and Etchings. Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney, Aus.
Grahame Sydney: Drawings into Paintings. Robert McDougall Gallery, Christchurch.
Grahame Sydney: New Etchings. Denis Cohn Gallery, Auckland.
1981 – Grahame Sydney: Selected Works 1975 – 1980. Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin.
1978 – Grahame Sydney: Recent Works. Robert McDougall Gallery, Christchurch. Also at the Dowse Art Gallery, Lower Hutt.
1977 – Grahame Sydney: Paintings & Drawings. Robert McDougall Gallery, Christchurch.
Grahame Sydney: Etchings. Brooke-Gifford Gallery, Christchurch.
1976 – Grahame Sydney: Paintings & Drawings. Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch.
Grahame Sydney: Recent Paintings. Peter Webb Galleries, Auckland.
1975 – Grahame Sydney: Paintings of the Otago Landscape. Lee Cramp Gallery, Auckland.
Grahame Sydney: Paintings. Peter Webb Galleries, Auckland.
1972 – Grahame Sydney: Recent Paintings. Moray Gallery, Dunedin.
1969 Grahame Sydney: Recent Paintings. Dawson’s Downstairs Gallery, Dunedin.
Selected Group Exhibitions
2011 – Wallpaper: Works from the Permanent Collection. Forrester Gallery, Oamaru.
2008 – Sinfonia Antarctica. The New Dowse, Wellington.
2007 – Picturing the Peninsula: Artists and the Banks Peninsula. Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch.
1998 – Southern Lights: 150 Years of Otago Landscape Art. Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin.
1994 – Spring Exhibition: Guest Artist. Nelson Suter Art Society, The Suter Gallery, Nelson.
1993 – Real Vision. Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch.
1992 – The Artist Abroad. Ferner Gallery, Auckland.
1986 – Five: D Ball, G Sydney, R Hotere, P Nicholls, E Stevens. Carnegie Gallery, Dunedin.
1985 – New Zealand Printmakers. Bankside Gallery, London.
New Zealand Printmaking. Portfolio Gallery, Auckland.
1984 – From the Real World. Southland Museum and Art Gallery, Invercargill.
7 New Zealand Artists. Denis Cohn Gallery, Auckland.
1983 – New Zealand Painting: Two Centuries. Hocken Library Collection, University of Otago, Dunedin.
1982 – Etchings, with John Drawbridge. Galerie Legard, Wellington.
New Zealand Drawing, 1982. Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin.
1980 – Portraits. New Vision Gallery, Auckland.
1977 – Grahame Sydney. Otago Art Society, Dunedin.
New Zealand Prints 1977. Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland.
1976 – New Zealand Drawing. Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland.