Five Part Piece
1972, 1570 x 2290mm, PVA on canvas
Don Driver spent his childhood in Ahuriri Napier. In 1943, his parents moved to Ngāmotu New Plymouth, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1945, he began working as a dental technician, taking night school classes in drawing, welding, and woodwork. His first major solo show, organised by the Adult Education Department of Victoria University in 1963, toured Te Ika-a-Māui. In 1965, he and his wife travelled to the United States of America, where they spent five months looking at the works of Eva Hesse, Elsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and others.
In 1967 and 1969, Driver visited Australia where he saw exhibitions of American work. From 1969, he worked as a technician at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. A major retrospective toured Aotearoa in 1979. Driver is usually regarded as a sculptor with a painterly aspect. His painted wall reliefs of the 1970s, made up of bands of single colour, either on canvas or on aluminium panels, are a major contribution to modernist painting in New Zealand. From the mid-1970s, his work became more sculptural and frequently utilised found objects.