Over the last few years, Simon Edwards has made his mark as a mature and confident artist of the New Zealand landscape. His images, both in their initial form as collage sketches and in their finished realisation as fine oil works on aluminium, display his skills as an artist. They also display his place in a lineage stretching back through early New Zealand landscapes of Van der Velden through the romantic art of Friedrich to Turner. Yet while this lineage is clear, Edwards also sees his art within a more modernist approach: “The work places itself somewhere between a modernistic reliance of the essential qualities (of the materials and the methods of painting) and an awareness of [landscape tradition]… the work becomes a result of what is happening on the surface at the time and building on chance effects that present themselves.” (1)
Edwards has recently returned from a research trip to China, and his study of scroll painting and traditional Shan-shui landscape is clearly reflected in his latest works. The vertiginous mountainscapes and rich use of chiaroscuro combine in landforms such as Ancestral Falls and Imperial Gem which are at once Arthur's Pass and Huangshan but yet neither.