Jeff Thomson Rebecca, 2019
Corrugated iron, 7000 x 2000 x 2000 mm (mast 7000 mm) approx
Using his favoured material, corrugated iron, Jeff Thomson’s Rebecca references early NZ classic yacht designs and the long history of boats moored at Matiatia and elsewhere around the coast of Waiheke.
The subject matter and the attention to detail in construction of this yacht reflect our nation’s love of boat building and the sea. The iconic material enforces the nostalgic and quintessential Kiwi “do it yourself” attitude. It can be seen as a sophisticated advancement of the single sheet of iron, tar-caulked, tin canoe that those of a certain generation will remember from their youth. This sculpture was inspired by her namesake ‘Rebecca’, a 1902 built gaff-rigged yacht originally called Dolphin, which was restored and renamed by the late Peter Smith and his wife Jill Smith during the 1970s.
Jeff Thomson had been known since the mid 1980s for his corrugated iron sculptures. Over his career he has used this common building material in a myriad of ways: cut into strips and woven, screen-printed, stacked, knitted, or turned it into lace, and used to make moulds from which he casts other materials. Thomson completed a BFA at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, majoring in painting and has worked as a full time as a sculptor since 1986. He was awarded the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at the University of Otago in 1995 and the Tylee Cottage Artist in Residence in Wanganui in 2000. Thomson has exhibited predominantly throughout Australasia, Germany and France. In 2003 he was commissioned to create a sculpture for Berlin as a gift from the people of New Zealand to the people of that city. The retrospective of his work, Corrugations: the Art of Jeff Thomson, was presented and toured by Tauranga Art Gallery from 2013. Thomson is represented in many public and private collections throughout New Zealand, including Gibbs Farm. Is the only artist to have exhibited in all nine Sculpture on the Gulf exhibitions. Represented by Bowen Galleries www.bowengalleries.co.nz