For background on the artist and works, see below.
About the ArtistBorn in 1989, of Samoan and Pakeha descent, Joshua Bashford gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Honours from the University of Canterbury in 2012, and lives and works near LIttle River. Time spent in the region inspires many of the motifs in his work, the river, the roads, the fish, the hawks… a connection with environment, as well as faith and cultural background. Bashford was introduced to The Diversion Gallery by noted NZ-Pacific artist Fatu Feu’u when Feu’u mentored students as Artist in Residence at the Macmillian Brown Centre for Pacific Studies in 2011. They have exhibited together in Canterbury, in Apia (Samoa) as part of the Return to Hawaiiki visiting artists programme, and in 2013 at The Diversion Gallery in Picton. Much of Bashford’s work employs printmaking techniques such as woodcuts, sometimes on a very large scale, and more recently he has introduced colour in a complex technique involving embossing the woodcut into the canvas, painting into the impressed pattern then overprinting the dynamic inked lines of the woodcut. These are unique monoprints, with up to four very different colour variations on the compositions, ranging from vivid works with considerable depth to intense, dark, brooding paintings.
‘My work explores mark making and its ability to portray themes such as faith, family and landscape. I work from a variety of sources including family photographs, internet images and pictures found in art books and magazines. These images are then taken and manipulated resulting in abstracted imagery which emerges and disappears into the canvas creating a pushing and pulling of symbols, figures and faces.’
Bashford says of his black and white woodcut works: ‘I have continued to work in a rather meditative way. They are heavily inspired by the landscape that I pass through on the drive to and from Little River and Christchurch. As I round the many bends in the road I am often in awe of the changes of light and movement especially around the waters of lakes Forsyth and Ellesmere. I have grown up by these lakes, fishing in the local river and I have spent hours waiting, watching, miles away in thought.’
His vast woodblock prints are intricately carved, and feature motifs of wildlife, people, and figures from the stories of his faith. There is a sense of protection in the works; and in the expression, a shape-shifting quality in which details emerge in viewing over time.
He has already established a very original, distinctive style, a fast rising artist to watch in the future.