Born Auckland, New Zealand
Attended the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland
Attended Auckland Teachers' College;
Exhibited in numerous group exhibitions
First solo exhibition at Ikon Gallery Auckland and Eric Sholes Gallery, Rotorua;
Athletes Group commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery
Awarded QEII Travel Grant to Britain and Europe - studied the lost-wax process
Completed Karangahape Road Fountain - Auckland City Council commission;
Exhibited in Mildura Triennale, Australia
Head of Sculpture at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland
Exhibited in Sydney Sculpture Biennale, National Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Australia
Greer Twiss Sculpture, Survey Show 1959-1981, Wellington City Art Gallery
Nine works purchased by the National Art Gallery, Wellington
Made an Officer of the Order of Merit (ONZM) for sculpture in the Queen's Birthday Honours
Greer Twiss Sculpture, A Survey Show 1959-1981 toured by Auckland City Art Gallery
Two new public sculptures at Auckland's Viaduct and Domain
Arts Foundation Icon Award recipient
BiographyGreer Twiss - Sculptor
Greer Twiss was born in 1937. From an early age he became interested in making puppets and putting on marionette performances for both live audiences and television. His first public performance was in 1946 at the St John's Ambulance Society.
He was a student at the Elam School of Fine Arts in the 50s where he graduated with honours. He became interested in cast metals and, in 1965, he was awarded a QEII Arts Council Travel Grant that enabled him to travel to Britain and Europe where he studied the lost-wax process. Greer has worked in a number of media including lead and sheet galvanised iron, but he is best known for his tactile bronzes. Bronze casting had seldom been undertaken by artists in New Zealand when Greer began, and that necessitated setting up his own foundry.
Greer has exhibited for over 50 years. His work is included regularly in both group and solo exhibitions throughout New Zealand and overseas. His work has also been included in major exhibitions such as Volume and Form, Singapore, Content/Context at Shed 11 - Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and Aspects of Recent New Zealand Art, Auckland City Art Gallery. He has been the subject of two retrospective exhibitions; one organised by the Wellington City Art Galleryand the other by the Auckland Art Gallery.
His sculpture is included in all major public and many private collections in New Zealand including Auckland Art Gallery -Toi o Tamaki and Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. He is also represented in numerous international public and private collections. One of the largest and most important early contemporary public sculpture commissions was his large untitled bronze commissioned for Karangahape Road by the Auckland City Council in 1968.
Greer has undertaken a number of other large-scale commissioned works and participated in the Sculpture Park developed for the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Throughout the 1990s he completed a number of installation works which have been exhibited in private sculpture collections and in major public galleries, including in 2004 a large public work for the Auckland City Sculpture Trust, Flight Trainer for Albatross, which stands at the entrance to the Auckland viaduct on Princes Wharf. His work has featured in major publications on New Zealand art and sculpture.
Greer also had a long career teaching at the University of Auckland, where he was an Associate Professor at the Elam School of Fine Arts, becoming Head of Sculpture in 1974. He retired from the school in 1998.
He was made an ONZM for Sculpture in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2002 and received an Arts Foundation Icon Award in 2011.
Greer Twiss is the "Godfather" of contemporary sculpture in New Zealand. For more than 50 years he has made sculpture, exhibited, been collected, been commissioned, taught, been reviewed and written about - without interruption. The development of New Zealand sculpture post World War II cannot be considered without the massive contribution of Greer Twiss as artist and as teacher. From a childhood interest in puppetry that saw him performing to audiences as a child and as a pioneer of television in this country, his making of figures evolved into the early cast bronze athletes that his reputation as a sculptor was built on. Rapidly Greer emerged as a pioneer of cast metal in New Zealand, and as the figure head of contemporary sculpture. A major public sculpture group, in bronze, commissioned for Karangahape Road by the Auckland City Council secured his youthful reputation as a leading figure in the New Zealand contemporary art scene. Greer has remained always inventive, returning frequently to cast bronze as a favoured medium but working in wax, sheet lead, sheet galvanised iron, wood and steel. He has exhibited widely here and abroad and has been the subject of two major retrospective exhibitions by the Wellington City Art Gallery and Auckland Art Gallery. Soon after graduating from the University of Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts he returned as a teacher, becoming an Associate Professor and Head of Sculpture. Not only has he been a powerful and persuasive figure as an artist, but he has shaped and stimulated the talent of generations of students who have passed through his studios. Greer is still a producing artist whose work remains inventive and vigorous.
Dr Rodney Wilson