Ian Scott, 1945-2013

By: Courtney Johnston


Painter Ian Scott was born in England in 1945 and came to New Zealand in 1952. Educated at Kelston Boys' High School, he began painting at 15, and went on to study at Elam (1964-67). His first exhibition was in 1963; and in 1965 he won the junior section of the Kelliher Prize.

From an early landscape focus, in the late 1960s Scott moved on to his 'girl' paintings, including Te Papa's 'Leapaway girl' and Victoria University's 'Jump over girl'. These blended a landscape somewhat reminiscent of Don Binney's work with an American pop-culture sensibility: as Robert Leonard put it, ‘Replacing Binney’s birds with dolly-birds lifted from advertising, fashion mags and men’s mags, Scott created lolly-coloured Pop Art Binneys, Playboy Binneys’.

Scott often worked in series ("The serial method occurs naturally when you are trying to press forward to you-don't-know-what. Each painting leads to the next. Usually you have to work through quite a few to discover what you want.") He is probably most well known for his Lattice works, over- and under-lapping ribbons of colour that undulate over the canvas's surface.

In the 1990s Scott worked on a series of "paintings about painting", in which areas of flat colour were blocked in over traditional landscapes. At the same time and into the early 2000s Scott worked on the 'Model' series, in which a solitary and provocative female nude poses in a bland domestic interior, accompanied by paintings by well-known modernist and Pop artists.

Scott died in Auckland on 27 June 2013, aged 68.

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