With the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings, 25th of April, in the forefront of all of our minds we wanted to highlight the work of official NZ Defence Force artist, Captain Matt Gauldie.
Our gallery Registrar, Grace Alty, attended Captain Gauldie’s artist talk at his Shelley Bay studio in Wellington over the weekend. Captain Gauldie will be exhibiting his work in the upcoming Gallipoli Trilogy exhibition at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington. The exhibition will feature large oil on canvas works, bronze sculpture and illustrations from his new book ‘The Tale of the Anzac Tortoise’, co-autoherd by Shona Riddell.
Gauldie also recently unveiled a 3.5 meter high public bronze sculpture of Sapper Moore-Jones. The project saw Gauldie travel to Anzac Cove to sketch the surrounding area and to gain a better insight into the life and art of Sapper Moore-Jones, who was stationed in Anzac Cove during the Great War. Gauldie’s bronze sculpture of Sapper Moore-Jones depicts the artist surveying his line of sight as he sketches an exposed ridge at Anzac Cove. The work was commissioned by the Hamilton City Council and the TOTI trust.
Matt Gauldie was born in Wellington in 1976 and raised in Hawaii. Gauldie trained at the Elam School of Art and Design, in Auckland. Initially Gauldie specialized in portraiture before branching into street scenes, nudes and contemporary landscape. With a distinctive “New Zealandness” about his style of painting, he exhibited throughout New Zealand until the commissioning of the Unknown Warrior series in late 2004.
Gauldie was appointed to the position of official war artist, on 11 April 2005, by the Rt. Hon. Helen Clark after he had completed the Unknown Warrior series. After he completed basic training, Gauldie visited the Solomon Islands to observe the New Zealand Army’s role in providing security for the Solomon Island Government in 2006.
Gauldie also completed a five-week tour of Afghanistan where he completed a series of works on New Zealand troops deployed there. His works are moving records of modern-day warfare tactics, and depict New Zealand soldiers who face extraordinary circumstances on a daily basis. Gauldie’s work continues the tradition of the official war artist into the twenty-first century.
Gauldie was subsequently issued the honorary rank of Captain by the then Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae. The role of NZ Army Artist has previously been held by Major Ion Brown, Graham Braddock and the highly regarded World War II artist Major Peter McIntyre. Other New Zealand artists such as Garth Tapper, Bill Sutton & Nugent Welch have also added to the tradition of NZ Army art.