In an innovative new book published by Massey University Press in November, readers can follow Dick Frizzell as he tries to make sense of western art history. He tracks from cave art right through to today and has a crack at recreating most of the book’s 125 paintings to get an understanding how they have influenced him, his work and his DNA as a 21st century painter.
In typical Frizzell style, it’s a romping good read interlaced with humour and effervescent accounts. But none of it is a joke: Dick holds the painters of the past in high esteem and reproducing the book’s selection of significant paintings, from Rubens and Tintoretto to Cezanne and Lichtenstein, to gain a better understanding of their work, was a labour of love, done over the period of a year.
‘My aim in writing this book — and painting the reproductions of the works that appear in it — is to clarify, demystify and deobfuscate this mad business of smoke and mirrors we call art,’ he says. ‘And I’m going to tell that story against my background, which means that it’s a very Eurocentric, Western story. Politically or historically correct or not, this is the story I feel behind me. It explains who I am as an artist. You could call it The Anatomy of Dick. Because art history might be shit. But the history of art isn’t. It’s the story of my life — and yours.’
You can buy the book from the gallery after the book launch, which is Friday 6th November,