Jeff Thomson’s sculptures always negotiate the playful borderland between fine art aesthetics and folk or everyday imagery. The Gibbs commission he has taken one element of the Farm’s every-day that is far from every-day for most of us: the Farm’s population of Giraffes.
Six distinctive types of giraffe can be found in the wild: Rothschild, Masai, West African, South African, Reticulated and Angolan. The Gibbs giraffes are Rothschild from the northern savannah areas of Africa.
For Thomson the objective was to create a generic giraffe in order to capture the elegance and wonder these creatures occupy in our imagination, rather than copy the particular creatures that wander the slopes below the sculpture.
Jeff Thomson (b. 1957, Castor Bay, Auckland) lives and works in Helensville, New Zealand. He graduated with a BFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 1981; and embarked on a series of long distance walks throughout New Zealand. Thomson is perhaps most well-known in Australasia for his signature corrugated iron artworks.
Probably the most iconic of these is the corrugated iron clad HQ Holden Station Wagon from 1991, which the artist used on New Zealand and Australian roads for three years before retiring it. The car-sculpture is now in the collection of Te Papa Tongarewa, The National Museum and Art Gallery of New Zealand, in Wellington.
He was awarded the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at the University of Otago, Dunedin in 1995; and the Tylee Cottage Artist in Residency at the Sarjeant Art Gallery, Wanganui in 2000. Thomson has exhibited throughout New Zealand, Australia, Germany and France.