Philippa Blair was born in Christchurch in 1945 where she went on to study at the University of Canterbury (1965-67) under R Gopas and D Peebles.
As an artist, Blair has the ability to create vibrant abstract paintings that fuse influences from her New Zealand heritage with the various cities in which she has lived and worked. As an Abstract Expressionist she paints from above her canvas, which she rotates to defy a singular direction or specific interpretation. Her painterly process is characterised by physicality and spontaneity of gestural force. Her vibrant palette includes contrasting and complimentary colours which are applied directly from the tube or dropped, drizzled or splattered across the primed canvass. During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s she produced unstretched canvases resembling tipi, cloak-like forms and other shapes. Her media include painting (acrylic, oil, and mixed media), printmaking (aquatint, etching and lithography), textile design, stained glass and photography.
Blair is widely influenced; music, film, urban environments and the forces of nature are amongst chief inspiration. Her paintings convey the energy and performance of dance, as well as L.A.’s her seismic environment, the excitement of Hollywood, architectural surroundings and the vast Pacific Ocean. She has worked in graphic design as well as lecturing in painting in NZ, Australia and the USA.
Blair’s work is held in all major New Zealand collections, and in many of the United States corporate collections such as the City Bank, General Electric and Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Collections.