Bill Hammond

Bill Hammond was born in Christchurch in 1947 and attended the Art School at the University of Canterbury in the mid 60’s. He has exhibited extensively since then and his work is held in major public and private collections throughout New Zealand. "23 Big Pictures", a survey show curated by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery toured the country in 1999-2000. Strongly figurative and graphic, Hammond’s work of the 80’s drew on comic strip imagery, popular culture and his own darkly comic observation. He restaged the common place into the suburban heartland, amongst urban details or theatrically arranged across patterned and stylised landscapes that somehow seem interior. Often jam-packed into dizzying perspectives, these images at once confound and entrance the viewer. The 90’s saw the emergence of his bird imagery. Initially from Buller’s drawings of our native species, the birds in Hammond’s work have evolved with a full set of human characteristics. He sets them, often clothed, in bars and rooms pursuing human aims. More frequently, however, they are arranged in complete worlds of naturalistic, almost surrealistic space, relating socially in a narrative with no central thread. Hammond also bends and manipulates the figurative elements in his work to engineer the image and in this way the birds at times become simple visual devices used by the artist to develop three dimensional space and control the composition.