An accomplished artist from an early age, Derek Ball has undertaken a journey from painting to plastics, a story from 2 to 3 to 4 dimensions and back again that is best told visually.
From early landscapes in oil, to graduation with an Honours Diploma in painting from Elam Art School (Auckland), Derek maintains his practice in painting until the present day.
Moving to Dunedin to take up a Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at the University of Otago, Derek began to move beyond the constraints of two dimensions by developing the perceived unexplored potential of plastics. This was followed by vacuum forming and the development of a direction in kinetic sculpture pursued via the Master of fine Arts programme at San Francisco Arts Institute. These sculptures merged acrylic and coloured liquids, a combination in motion that attracts and retains the viewer’s attention.
Returning to Dunedin as a lecturer at Otago Polytechnic School of Art, Derek’s work in vacuum forming plastic sculptures continued. If you’ve travelled around New Zealand, you’ve perhaps seen Derek’s work in places like Dunedin Public Hospital, Taiaroa Albatross Colony and even Puzzling World in Wanaka.
The journey back to three dimensions was sparked by Derek’s “retirement” to Nelson, where he found the match of clear cast resin to the landforms, open sky and clouds. Derek’s work in cast resin is unique - we know of no other artist in the world who has found this association between the medium and the subject.
Derek’s cast resin sculptures represent well-known New Zealand landscapes. Each work is composed of pigmented layers fused together and sanded back to a smooth finish. They capture light as well as form and each scene appears to glow, containing as well as revealing the landscape within.