John Weeks


Industry by John Weeks

Artwork Detail

Much was expected of John Weeks when he returned to New Zealand in 1928 after travel and study in North Africa and Europe. He was immediately appointed to the staff of the Elam School of Art, where he remained for 23 years, an influential and popular teacher. Impressed by the work of André Lhote, Weeks introduced several generations of art students to innovative and emotional use of colour, a counter to the academic art teaching at the School. Although exhorted to assist in creating a New Zealand national identity in art, Weeks refused the call. He loved the craft of painting and constantly tried new media and new means of painterly expression, including colour fantasies and tachiste-like compositions, ten years before a visiting exhibition of British action painting caused an uproar in New Zealand. 'I am an inveterate experimentalist. Why should the artist be expected to stick to some hard-and-fast accepted rule - already worn threadbare by constant repetition?'. John Weeks is one of a small number of artists who used factory buildings, construction sites and industrial equipment as subjects for art. After the worst of the Depression years, Labour came to power in 1935 bringing national euphoria and a celebration of the country's return to work. Industry shows workers among the massive machinery of a foundry, but Weeks' primary focus is the colour, heat and light roaring forth from the crucible of molten metal. (from The Guide, 2001)

John Weeks
Production date
oil on board
492 x 393 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1938
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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