Twiggy Considered as a Gestalt System by PJ Paterson

Twiggy IV (Triptych), 2013, Acrylic on Perspex

Twiggy Considered as a Gestalt System

PJ Paterson

16 April to 28 April 2013

In this series P J Paterson playfully utilises images of iconic 1960s model Twiggy to explore the ideas of appropriation and artistic property first examined by the Pop Artists. 

As a figure that came to embody the era, portraits of the model saturate contemporary mass media.  Paterson’s paintings of Twiggy directly reference original fashion photographs, with the artist painstakingly translating the images to paint using a highly refined pointillist technique applied to large-scale Perspex sheets.

This analogue method of image sampling is highly time-consuming and results in the addition of small random changes, brought about by the artist’s hand.  Thus Paterson adds his own data to these images, commenting on the value of digitalised processes and calling into question the notion of image ownership.   


Throughout his varied practice, Paterson’s subjects shift dramatically from series to series; his works are united, however, by an effort to expose holes in the narratives of progress that define contemporary society.  While Paterson’s highly-processed, ‘shiny-shiny’ aesthetic references Pop art and contemporary culture, his frequent changes in subject and style suggest an artist with a deep sense of social responsibility.  His willingness to confront issues so directly allows his art to become a means of radical social and political expression, a vehicle for change. 



Born: Manchester, United Kingdom

Lives: Auckland

Public Collections: The Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland; The University of Waikato Collection, Hamilton

Public Exhibitions: The Care Factor: Group Photography Exhibition; The Calder and Lawson Gallery, University of Waikato, Hamilton (February 2013)

Awards/Distinctions: The Wallace Art Awards - Finalist (2012, 2009); Air New Zealand Fashion Week - Invited artist, Auckland (2010)

Publications/Articles: ‘Innocent victim or malevolent goddess?’, Art News New Zealand, Autumn 2010; Sanderson, Kylie, Tamara Darragh and Kim Atherfold, The Artists: 21 Practitioners in New Zealand Contemporary Art c. 2009-2011, Auckland: Beatnik Publishing, 2009, pp 68-71

Artworks featured in: New Zealand House and Garden, Sept 2010; Her, Mar 2010

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