Terry Stringer was born in England in 1946 and came to New Zealand in 1952. He achieved a Diploma of Fine Art at Auckland University in 1967 and now lives and works at his sculpture park Zealandia in the countryside north of Auckland.
Stringer is best known as a sculptor, having made two notable public installations: the explosive Mountain Fountain for Auckland’s Aotea Square (recently re-located to the Auckland Cathedral in Parnell) and the similarly powerful white lightning bolt in Rotorua. Most of Stringer’s work, however, is done on a smaller domestic scale, with everyday figures and objects comprising his subject matter.
Stringer’s sculptures fill space in a way that manipulates rather than occupies it, some works using methods first explored by the Cubists in the early 1900’s. Not conforming to traditional illusionistic perspective, Stringer tilts the horizontal space towards the viewer, his bronzes seeming to deny their three-dimensionality as they appear slightly squashed and crumpled at the corners. In other works he enhances the depth instead of suppressing the volume – a skilful use of perspective and shading makes a wall-mounted relief appear to have depth where actually there is very little.
Stringer’s works are both aesthetically and thematically best described as trompe l’oeil. While he doesn’t make political or environmental statements within his work, that doesn’t mean that they are without depth. These multifaceted works are to be enjoyed and contemplated upon, providing pleasure, nostalgia and a touch of humour.