Author(s): Paul Dibble
Sculptor Paul Dibble often works on a big scale and this book features those works, both private and public, that make an imposing statement. Covering works for the public domain, commissions for schools and pieces for private clients, this book takes the reader through the fascinating process of not only of the thinking and design of artworks, but also the practicalities of dealing with huge sculptures, some using hundreds of kilograms of bronze. The book culminates in what will probably be Dibble's most lasting work - the New Zealand Memorial in London. Not only are you taken through the whole development process, with ideas taken up, tossed around and discarded, and the constraint of the commission and the London site, there is also a section that describes what is featured on the surface of the work itself. Dibble is also generous in discussing processes and techniques, what works, what doesn't, how he approaches different projects, works with clients, etc. In short, this is a very special "access all areas" look at living and working as an artist in New Zealand over the last thirty or so years. 'I confess I never really believed that I could make a living as a sculptor and still, before an exhibition, as for nearly 20 years of making art I sold very little, there is always a degree of worry, because I can't fully believe it is possible."
Paul Dibble was born in Waitakaruru, on the Hauraki Plains, near Thames. From 1963 to 1967, he studied at Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours in Sculpture. At first he worked for Group architect James Hackshaw, making artwork for churches alongside his ex-tutor Colin McCahon. In the 1970s he taught art in various secondary schools, then left to take up a position at Massey University in Palmerston North. By the year 2000, Dibble gave up teaching entirely to work exclusively in his own workshop. Dibble's first solo exhibition was in 1971 at the Barry Lett Gallery, Auckland. He has since maintained a consistent exhibition schedule throughout New Zealand, with work also appearing at several overseas art fairs and, more recently, in exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney. He has produced a number of significant commissions and is represented in numerous collections here and overseas. In 2006, in collaboration with Athfield Architects, he completed a large New Zealand Memorial sited at Hyde Park Corner in London. This work was opened on Armistice Day, with a dedication attended by the Prime Minister Helen Clark, Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of Britain, the Queen and many members of the royal family. He was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004 and an Honorary Doctorate, the first in the visual arts, from Massey University in 2007, and a Fellowship from UCOL (Universal College of Learning), 2011.