John Drawbridge

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1930, d.2005

The Edge of Earth

  • Presented by N.Z.I. Corporation, 1986
  • Etching
  • 760 x 565mm
  • 86/60
  • 1986

John Drawbridge is as highly regarded for his work as an accomplished printmaker as he is for his paintings. He specialised in the mezzotint medium, one of the most difficult forms of intaglio printing to master. Drawbridge’s skill with mezzotint is highlighted in this work, where the abstract imagery has been drawn with a range of burring tools directly onto the metal plate from which the image has been printed. The range of mark-making this process allows is evident in the way the tonal variations shift between the two bold blocks in the composition.

Printmaking had a strong presence in Drawbridge’s oeuvre throughout his career. Being awarded a New Zealand National Art Gallery Travelling Scholarship in 1957 enabled him to travel to Britain and Europe where he studied printmaking under Merlyn Evans and Stanley Hayter. There was a heightened period of interest in printmaking in Britain at this time, which had a lasting impact on Drawbridge.