Daryl File gets in the Flow

Being taken to court an inspirational learning experience for Gisborne artist Daryl File, whose exhibition is soon to open in Napier.

Being taken to court an inspirational learning experience for Gisborne artist Daryl File, whose exhibition is soon to open in Napier.

FLOW: The sea and gestural line features in several of Gisborne artist Daryl File’s paintings that are part of an eclectic range of works in his upcoming exhibition 'Flow', at Community Arts Napier. Picture by Paul Rickard

BEING taken to court as an art student was an inspirational learning experience for Gisborne artist Daryl File, who is about to exhibit an eclectic range of recent paintings, sculpture and mixed media in Napier.

Respected New Zealand artist and Elam art school tutor Garth Tapper took File to court to observe and draw people.

“He was allowed into the courtroom to teach us to draw and record. You learned how to sketch quickly. I’ve always had that fascination for the drama, tension, gesture and mien of a figure. I’ve always had a fascination for faces.”

File’s exhibition Flow even includes a courtroom scene, the jury.

Head and shoulders — part portrait, part caricature — each with a distinctive personality, are cut out and placed side by side in rows in a jury formation. The thickness of the cut-outs gives the faces a three dimensionality.

“I did high court jury in Wellington one time,” says File. “I tried to look through the prosecutor’s eyes to see what it could be like to talk to the jury.”

The show’s name lends itself to File’s ocean and plant form-inspired paintings in which spontaneous line is a significant feature.

Among the paintings is a triptych of viscean forms, instantly recognisable as the archetypal shape of the surfboard.

“I love that shape,” says File. “It’s an iconic form and a lovely shape to work with.”

File’s three-dimensional works include a population of odd figures. The artist took his twin daughters’ outgrown shoes as a starting point to create his figures. In a sense the figures grew from the ground up.

“En masse they look a bit dystopian,” says File, as he looks at his “heavy pets” arranged in formation on the floor.

“They’re somewhere between the sprite and bunyip and fertile imagination. I’ve got a whole army of them.”

That fertile imagination extends to assembled and painted portraits created from spoons, mousetraps, a rat trap, and, in a work that aimed to capture former New Zealand prime minister David Lange’s intelligence and wit, a house-painter’s paint-gummed brush.

There is a nice funkiness about working with found objects, says File.

“You have to have an outlet for your wit. That’s an important thing. I’m not held down by any one discipline.”



BEING taken to court as an art student was an inspirational learning experience for Gisborne artist Daryl File, who is about to exhibit an eclectic range of recent paintings, sculpture and mixed media in Napier.

Respected New Zealand artist and Elam art school tutor Garth Tapper took File to court to observe and draw people.

“He was allowed into the courtroom to teach us to draw and record. You learned how to sketch quickly. I’ve always had that fascination for the drama, tension, gesture and mien of a figure. I’ve always had a fascination for faces.”

File’s exhibition Flow even includes a courtroom scene, the jury.

Head and shoulders — part portrait, part caricature — each with a distinctive personality, are cut out and placed side by side in rows in a jury formation. The thickness of the cut-outs gives the faces a three dimensionality.

“I did high court jury in Wellington one time,” says File. “I tried to look through the prosecutor’s eyes to see what it could be like to talk to the jury.”

The show’s name lends itself to File’s ocean and plant form-inspired paintings in which spontaneous line is a significant feature.

Among the paintings is a triptych of viscean forms, instantly recognisable as the archetypal shape of the surfboard.

“I love that shape,” says File. “It’s an iconic form and a lovely shape to work with.”

File’s three-dimensional works include a population of odd figures. The artist took his twin daughters’ outgrown shoes as a starting point to create his figures. In a sense the figures grew from the ground up.

“En masse they look a bit dystopian,” says File, as he looks at his “heavy pets” arranged in formation on the floor.

“They’re somewhere between the sprite and bunyip and fertile imagination. I’ve got a whole army of them.”

That fertile imagination extends to assembled and painted portraits created from spoons, mousetraps, a rat trap, and, in a work that aimed to capture former New Zealand prime minister David Lange’s intelligence and wit, a house-painter’s paint-gummed brush.

There is a nice funkiness about working with found objects, says File.

“You have to have an outlet for your wit. That’s an important thing. I’m not held down by any one discipline.”



Flow, an exhibition of paintings, sculpture and mixed media by Daryl File at Community Arts Napier, May 5-18

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