Johnny Turner

Astral Sail, 2008, Kairuru marble, 770mm x 180mm x 100mm


Wellington artist Johnny Turner sculpts from hard volcanic and metamorphic rock. Created over thousands of years from massive pressure and resultant heat, the formation of these stones sees an initially soft substance transformed into another more refined form, of heightened purity and a phenomenally durable essential nature. Turner sees this transformation as being of powerful significance to his work and in the undertaking of artists to transform their raw materials into enduring objects.
Living and working from Wellington, Turner has been mentored by sculptors he admires but is otherwise largely self-taught. Inspiration arises from the artist's personal beginnings, the passage of time and the re-use of materials drawn from deep within the earth, as well as an ongoing fascination and research into sources as diverse as Greek history, classical mythology, indigenous culture and the Japanese aesthetic. Creating works which appear perfectly poised in space or emerging upwards from the earth, Turner often reinvents classical forms with his contemporary interpretation, referencing history, memory and ancestral provenance within each piece.
Turner’s passion for his medium drives him to undertake wonderfully realised works of a monumental weight and scale. The sleekness of these works and their precise balance serves to make them undeniably man-made, but the smooth, curving forms and seductively tactile surfaces refer to an ideal of organic perfection – the unquestionable beauty to be found in the forms of nature.
Awards and Distinctions: 9th Manukau Vessel and Sculpture Exhibition and Award, Manukau – Premier Award (2006); New Zealand Sculpture Award, Waikato - First prize (2005); COCA (Centre of Contemporary Art) Art Awards, Christchurch - Finalist (2004); Forsyth Barr Canterbury Art Award – Winner (2004); Waikato Outdoor Sculpture Award - Winner (2003); Sculpture Feature, Mercedes Benz Marquee - Gold Medal (2002)
Public Exhibitions: Persona: A Tribute Exhibition dedicated to John Bevan Ford, travelling exhibition - Invited Exhibitor (2006); Shapeshifter, Lower Hutt - Invited Exhibitor (2004-06); Te Kupenga International Sculpture Symposium, New Plymouth (2004); International Stone Symposium, Roundtop Centre d’Art, Maine, USA (2004); Tareitanga International Sculpture Symposium, Wellington (2003)
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