Transformer 2004

Granite, Coromandel NZ/India

3500 x 750 x 750 mm; 900 x 2200 x 600 mm

Edmiston Trust Collection, Auckland Domain Sculpture Walk.

The shape and form of John Edgar’s sculpture recalls ancient monuments, steles, often used for funerary or commemorative purposes and generally made in stone or timber.

Edgar refers to stones as the bones of the land, formed over long periods of time. Transformer is very much a contemporary sculpture imbued with tradition and sense of the past, rich with ideas open for interpretation.

There is no specific person or event being commemorated. The two elements are cut from Coromandel granite and simply rise from their foundations enabling the viewer to get close. Across the road is a traditional commemorative work installed in 1921. It is a bronze statue of Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759 –1796), standing upon on a tall base. Edgar’s choice of Coromandel granite for his sculpture pays homage to tradition whilst elevating the medium from a base material to the artwork.

The tall stele of Edgar’s work stands besides a smaller form suggesting that perhaps that it has fallen and been rounded by weathering. The two elements are embedded with bands of red granite reminiscent of digital markers, yet undecipherable by us.

Part of a project initiated by Outdoor Sculpture 2001 Incorporated to mark the new millennium with a sculpture walk in the Auckland Domain.

Special thanks to Trethewey Granite and Marble Ltd and Maunsell Limited for their support of this sculpture.

Gil Hanly photograph courtesy of Urbis magazine.

John EDGAR b. 1950

John Edgar graduated in 1972 with a BSc Honours. He initially worked for five years as a research chemist in Christchurch. He has been described as one of New Zealand’s finest self-taught artists.

Since 1977 he has been practicing as an artist and exhibiting nationally and internationally. There have been four national touring shows of his work: Calculus, 2002-2004; Lie of the Land, 1998-1999; Cross Country, 1996; and Making Amends, 1993-1995.

In 2001 he designed the McLeod’s Footbridge, Henderson. In 2004, together with painter John Hadwen, he designed the artificial climbing wall in the Waitakere Trust Stadium, Henderson.

He was awarded a NZ Order of Merit for his services to art, in 2009. In the same year he exhibited Ballast, in Edinburgh, featuring works made of stone from Scottish quarries. In 2012 Ballast - Bringing the Stones Home, was exhibited at the Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland.

His sculpture Lie of the Land, which pays homage to Captain Cook and the disciplines of cartography and navigation, was gifted to The Savill Garden’s New Zealand Garden, Windsor Great Park, England in 2012.

Edgar is represented in private and public collections both locally and internationally.

Artwork Location