For many years Paul Dibble’s work has explored various interpretations of the human form. From figurative and quirky depictions, to modernist abstracted forms, Dibble’s vision continues to evolve. This recent body of work, Unfolding Model, arrives as figures and relics that look to have emerged from the ocean.
Here we see figures both curled and unfurling, inspired by the rounded and smooth motion of the ocean’s waves. Human forms morph into those of sea-like creatures, with elegant elongated fins. As with much of Dibble’s works, this series also incorporates influences from Maori objects and imagery. Adapted patu and lintel shapes appear - curved and punctuated with kowhaiwhai patterns and koru spirals, cut-out to create detailed silhouettes.
Dibble is a highly talented and skilled sculptor, casting all of his own bronze works in collaboration with a small team at his foundry in Palmerston North. The major work from this exhibition, The Unfolding, stands at 2.6 metres tall. In addition to large outdoor-scale sculptures sits a series of marquettes, including the distinctive three piece assemblage - Soft Geometric Trio.
This has already been an important year for Dibble and his team, who were honoured by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage by being awarded a sculpture commission for London’s Hyde Park. The brief of the commission was to celebrate the efforts of New Zealand, not only in war but also in sport, trade and the arts; to recognise not only the courage and achievements in those areas but also to acknowledge the grief, loss and suffering which has accompanied aspects of our history. Due for completion in late 2006, the work is comprised of 16 vertical bronze structures, adorned with reminders of home – pipi shells, poetry, ruby balls and decorative Maori carvings.
It is Dibble’s ability to incorporate these eclectic cultures and histories that has greatly endeared his work to the New Zealand public in the past. With a permanent display of his work in one of the world’s busiest cities imminent, Dibble’s work will now engage a new and broadened audience with its dialogue of Aoetearoa’s heritage and rich visual history.