Born 1944 in Masterton, grew up at Eastbourne on Wellington harbour. Attended Elam Art School (Auckland) graduating with an Honours Diploma in painting. 1968 awarded the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at Otago University where experiments with synthetic media (resins) began. Following a couple of years teaching art at a College of Further Education in England, embarked on a Master of Fine Arts programme at San Francisco Art Institute specialising in plastics. It was during this time that Derek developed a direction in kinetic sculpture – making multiples that would sustain him and his family in San Francisco after the completion of the masters degree.
Returning to New Zealand, Derek took up the position of lecturer-in-charge of sculpture at Otago Polytechnic School of Art, where he remained for the next 25 years, exhibiting widely and undertaking public commissions.
Derek and his wife moved to Nelson in 2002 where he has developed his cast resin landscapes which have been exhibited widely around the country and continued commissions, notably for Puzzling World in Wanaka and locally you might have seen his Moa at Ngarua Caves and the Hobbit characters on the Motueka State Cinema roof.
“The cast resin sculptures are based on observation drawings of iconic South Island landscapes. Casting resin is a clear medium that can be dyed and pigmented enabling the depiction not only of the land but skies and clouds. My intention is to provide an interpretation of the landscape in three dimensions as we perceive it. The effect of “embalming” the landscape in blocks of resin has something of the quality of the medieval reliquary where precious objects were preserved often in elaborate settings as in the encased lit sculptures.
These works are unique, in that no other sculptor has taken the medium in this direction.”