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1970
Oil On Hessian/Jute On Plywood
1012 x 710mm

The best known of New Zealand’s neo-expressionist painters, Clairmont was born in Nelson. He studied at Ilam under Gopas, W.A.Sutton, Doris Lusk and Don Peebles; among his fellow students were Tony Fomison and Philip Trusstum. Clairmont’s expressionist leanings were already apparent before he came under Gopas’s tutelage — he was an admirer of Francis Bacon’s painting while at school. The influence of Gopas was profound in the strongly gestural application of paint, the use of strong primary colours and structural strength. This Fireplace series work comes from the body of paintings on domestic subjects with which Clairmont first came to prominence in the early 1970s. Suburban images were, as in this work, invested with a sense of threat and disorder, deliberately subverting images of quiet, orderly family life.