Text by Fran Dibble
The enormity of the size and variation of Paul Dibble’s work comes to life in this stunning celebration of his work over the last decade. From his iconic huia birds to the moving Featherston Stand, He Tino Mamoa (It’s a Long Way) and the surprising Killer Rabbits series with a serious message of rabbits being one of our earliest inflictors of environmental damage in New Zealand.
This large format, 180 page book has stunning photography throughout. It includes Dibble’s finished sculptures in galleries and public places and working in Palmerston North in his workshop. Dibble’s artistic process from an idea to a 3-D form is shown in his first drawings, moulds, mock ups, materials used and the finished sculptures.
Woven carefully throughout the book are snippets of Dibble’s handwritten notes reflecting on his art and influences. This is a treat for the reader as they get a real insight into the artist’s thoughts and opinions.
Dibble was born in Thames and raised on a farm in Waitakaruru on the Hauraki Plains. He does have artists in his family, but had never been to an art gallery or even a library until he left the farm and went to Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland.
He says that even though he admires art outside of New Zealand, it doesn’t influence his work. “As far back as I can remember, my art has been preoccupied with images of this country” – Paul Dibble. This is very evident in every series of work that Dibble takes on, with strong themes of New Zealand’s fauna and flora and our social history.
The book is collated and written by Fran Dibble, his wife of 35 years; who is a fellow artist and art critic. Fran’s close perspective is unique and insightful.
My only criticism is the cover of the book. Clearly the X represents a decade of Dibble’s work, but the image does not immediately connect you to his iconic sculptures.
Readers will be amazed to read that this book focuses only on the last decade of Dibble’s work and not a life time. The incredible detail in the large scale sculptures that he brings to life really make people stop, look and contemplate.
Paul Dibble X: A Decade of sculpture is a real tribute to one of New Zealand’s most original and respected sculptors.
Text by Fran Dibble
Publisher: Bateman Books
Available: paperback, from bookstores