Richard Shanks was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1965, and began drawing as a child. He was influenced by his family's deep affinity with the landscape - having farmed in the Kaipara region and on the Hauraki plains since the 1840s - and by the extensive artistic talent found in his immediate family.

He was familiar with the smell of oil paints since a young age as his mother was a landscape artist working in oil and watercolour; his maternal grandmother worked extensively with monochromatic and watercolour images, with particular attention to light and form, encouraging Richard to see in three dimensions with a pencil; and his father W. Bruce Shanks is a well known award-winning photographer. Throughout his childhood, the family travelled widely through the North and South Islands on photographic assignments, photographing, painting and drawing the landscape.

In the early 90s Richard began a formal series of paintings, initially in egg tempera and subsequently in oil, selling his first tempera in 1996. Architectural forms in the urban and rural landscapes have been the predominant subjects, and by 2001 Richard had begun a series of oils based on the landscapes where his family have lived and worked over the past 150 years. The works derive from reality and convey, beyond place, mood and atmosphere, more transcendant and universal themes. Richard describes these works as attempts to depict the substance behind the shadow; the "unseen real".

Beginning as preliminary pencil studies on paper, the finished work is oil on the finest grade of Belgian linen canvas. Richard is particularly attentive to the interactive properties of his materials and how they behave in the long term, in order to produce works of the highest physical quality, stability and longevity.

Richard currently produces and sells a limited number of original works each year, and these reside in private collections in the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Richard welcomes contact from those who may be interested in viewing or acquiring one of his original works.

  Copyright Richard Shanks, 2008 Last updated 31 May, 2008 
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