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Born Auckland 1940, Auckland,New Zealand . Studied Auckland  Grammar School,.Auckland..

Travelled to London and was accepted for full time study in painting at St Martins School of art in London where he received stimulation from such lecturers as Anthony Caro, Philip King, Frank Auerbach, John Latham, Eduoard Paolozzi, Bernard Cohen, Elizabeth Frink, Leon Kossoff.

After completing The National Diploma of Fine Art was selected for postgraduate study. During his study at St Martins won their third year painting prize. In 1967 was appointed Lecturer in Painting and Design at Middlesbrough College of Art for two years. He exhibited widely and was represented in the 1966 eight N.Z. artists show in New Zealand House London as well as a selected show of New Zealand artists in London at Qantas Gallery. He travelled extensively through Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, and East European countries before immigrating to Canada. In Canada addressed workshops at Sir George William University and worked as a graphic designer and Display artist. He travelled extensively by car in the United States spending sometime in Mexico before returning to New Zealand in 1971.

Was appointed Lecturer at the Auckland Institute of Technology in 1971. He is now lecturing part-time as Senior lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology.

His work has been exhibited widely in N.Z. in group shows, one- man shows and is in private collections. He has exhibited overseas in such places as Sweden, Italy, Canada, Venice, London, Canada and New York. He has returned many times to U.K. travelling to South Africa, Israel, Greece, Italy, Japan, South America, China and Asia. This exposure to many countries and cultures has been a great influence on his work, which because it draws from so many sources, has attained a universal quality. His work does not have that overtly New Zealand flavour yet Robinson says that although his work does not contain any familiar N.Z. icons, it still has a New Zealandness about it that he can recognize as being distinct from Australian and particularly from British or European art. This he feels t is the same for most contemporary N.Z. art.

The optimism of the sixties offered Robinson all the encouragement to explore art rather than just painting pictures or merely being self-expressive which he feels can be a hindrance to good understanding. This exploration over the years is manifest in some very inventive paintings exploring sculptural, spatial and painterly concerns as well as his use of multi printmaking techniques as work in themselves and as a form of inspiration for paintings. Looking at Robinson’s work over the years one can see cases where he seems to have isolated aspects to explore over a period of time then changes direction to explore what could be seen as an opposite direction. A few years later he produced paintings that combine the two different poles into work, which now would have those conflicting emotions within the same work but working dynamically to form a satisfactory sense of order.

The basic structure of his work is intellectual but the paintings have a unique balance of intuition and intellect that stops them from being too predictable. Even in the earlier “Drop Series” work that on the surface seem pre-planned they are infact a result of intuitive decisions made as the work developed. In effect, he addresses the issue; can merely the sum of form, colour, and design give the work integrity of its own, and provide value and relevance for the viewer.

For Robinson, communication implies that one has something to say and wants to communicate that understanding to others but he does not use this in his work. He grapples with the problem of making abstract work that is more than simply decorative and yet does not have an explicit metaphorical quality. He uses the word communion that demands the full participation of the viewer and total commitment from the artist. A product of inner intensity, the work makes no attempt to woo the fashion conscious. For him radicalism usually means just being Avante –Guard, which in fact is just an attitude representing the status quo.

He gives each work a personality that is much more than its basic qualities of shape and colour. Robinson’s command of the variety of techniques is emphasized by the combination of printing and collage within the paintings. The wit and experience of the artist shows in the way he takes a single form and energizes it in ways both elaborate and simple and in a variety of media. By exposing the accepted practices of ‘Art’. Robinson finds it necessary to take a step back and to look at just what art means to the artist and to the viewer. His working process is to construct and corrupt, removing the work [and himself] from any literally art historical context. Although the work might be about time passing he doesn’t want to be trapped by any time frame.

Ken Robinson is not just an expressive painter he is in fact a dedicated analyst of form. Moving beyond the action and immediate expression. Control and intellect and emotive energy remain the primary ingredients in his art.

“I want that sense of order or controlled effect of all the individual marks and their relationships with other marks and shapes. It is the sensual reading of those marks and the overall effect that interest me. I participate in the creative process simply to understand something about myself and the world around me.

So exploring the way we see things we can discover something about ourselves.”

Ken Robinson