1985, 1000 x 1820mm, Acrylic on canvas
Philippa Blair studied at the University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts under Rudolf Gopas, graduating in 1957 with a Diploma in Fine Arts. Like Philip Clairmont and Philip Trusttum, she benefited greatly from the model of European Expressionist energy in the application of paint. At the age of 22, she married and went to live at Wairoa where she taught art at Wairoa College. Afterwards, she lived for several years in Australia, where she began to paint full-time.
The early 1970s were devoted to child rearing, but, in 1975, Blair began regular exhibitions at New Vision Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau. Her work was admired for its concentrated vitality achieved by means of dense webs of splattered paint. She has exhibited widely throughout Aotearoa and overseas. In 1977, she was strongly influenced by an exhibition of indigenous North American art seen at London’s Hayward gallery. She took up the tent or ‘tipi’ shape, beginning to free her work from the frame. Subsequent works, such as Heart Book, continued the process.