Section menuMain content

Self-Taught & Visionary Art in New Zealand

Reece Tong

The art of Reece Tong is the art of simplification and essentialisation.

Forms are flattened, shapes are reduced, designs are repeated and patterns are created.

His process is methodical: paint is applied in a workman-like manner, thoughtfully, and never hurried, like the classic roadside labourer (and Reece has done his share of such jobs). Reece grew up around the small farming communities of New Plymouth on New Zealand’s west coast. He worked at various labouring jobs before applying himself to his artwork at the studios of Vincent’s Community Art workshop in Wellington.

His work is primarily graphic and is expressed through a variety of materials and techniques, from papiermâché and clay, to carved and painted wooden reliefs. His intuitive process of transforming objects to a kind of primal essence, invites the comparison of his work to that of tribal-aboriginal art making, but this is a natural association and there is no hint of a forced or studied approximation of style.

Through the lens of his visual language Reece is free to describe his world, and his choice of subject matter injects the work with his character and his humour. All kinds of things get described in the work: local sports grounds, dolphins, shopping malls, birds. Text is used simply as identifying labels, guides to meaning, and the letters are treated as component shapes that become part of the overall design.


Selected Works

  • ‘Bird’‘Bird’
  • ‘Latino’‘Latino’, 2008
  • ‘Elephants’‘Elephants’, 2008
  • America PeopleAmerica People, 2008
  • UntitledUntitled

Showing all 5 works.