Riduan Tomkins

This exhibition is now closed


Riduan Tomkins has recently been appointed to head the Painting Department at the University of Canterbury for a 3 year tenure. Virtually unknown here, this highly experienced painter has an international reputation.

Born in England, graduate of Wimbledon School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London, he has taught in Art Colleges and Schools in England and Canada. His list of solo and group exhibitions reads impressively – London, Toronto, Dublin, New York, Montreal and Nova Scotia, including “An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture” Museum of Modern Art, New York, where he was the only artist from Canada, invited to show.

A prolific worker, he is mounting 5 solo exhibitions in as many months, in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Riduan Tomkins’ paintings are lyrical puzzles. Likened to the freshness of a summer’s day, in contrast to the calamity of an emergency ward on Saturday night, they are free of anxiety, if full of uncertain truths. They counterpoise abstraction with figuration, reason with yearning, and theory with dictum.

Tiny figures make statements about existential space, crinolined figurines question the religion of art history, cows imply a generosity of spirit as they circle their square, and oscars stand as awards to paint in resolution.

These fanciful works are historically conscious, romantic, rational and decorative. After the increasing sterility of Minimalism and Conceptualism, Riduan Tomkins reintroduces a non-Western concern for life into his art. This allows him to combine formal observations with spiritual attitudes, which he paints in reflective dialogue, within each canvas, for enjoyable viewing.

('Riduan Tomkins', Bulletin, No.51, May/June 1987, p.2)