Ephraim Russell

Bio -
Ephraim Russell
(Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Rongowhakata, Ngāi Tamanuhiri, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Whakatohea, Rangitane, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha, Ngāi Tahu).

Emerging Gisborne-born Maori visual artist Ephraim Russell creates conceptual artworks, street art, ta moko, digital art and mixed media based artworks. Russell can be seen as a Maori artist continuing on the traditions of his people by creating work that is contemporary yet grounded in a customary context and a refined aesthetic.

His artworks demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, by applying abstraction, his works references post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern.

With influences as diverse as Takashi Murakami and Paemanu, new variations are created from both explicit and implicit textures. New variations are generated from both opaque and transparent layers created from both orderly and random narratives, As temporal replicas become reconfigured through boundaries and personal practice, the viewer is left with a testament to the edges of our future.

"The goal for this series of work is to use colour, material, and form to create a visually stimulating image. I also experiment with the possibilities allowed through different application techniques. I often draw inspiration from sources outside of the art world, such as technology and digital culture. The circular eye creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer around and around in circles."

Russell explores his whakapapa through the lens of his great-great-great-grandfather Wiremu Pere - a Māori Member of Parliament in New Zealand 1884 - in a recent series of bold sculptural works which employ aluminium composite panels and acrylic sheets and juxtapose traditional and contemporary dialogue. As part of his first solo show in Gisborne, the artistic narrative links the artist to a range of prominent tipuna or ancestors in the Tairāwhiti region. The show includes collaborative works with renowned artist Israel Tangaroa Birch, Fayne Robinson and Asher Newbery. Russell graduated with a Masters in Māori Visual Arts from Massey University in 2014.


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