Greer Twiss was one of the first New Zealand artists to work in cast bronze and he has repeatedly returned to that medium, despite completing large bodies of assembled and constructed work.

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.

Video

2011
Greer Twiss (sculptor) features on TVNZ 7's broadcast of 'The Artists', produced in partnership with the Arts Foundation following the 2011 Arts Foundation Icon Awards.
2011
Greer Twiss - makes observations on the wax process, tin metal, and other sculptural processes for the Real Art Roadshow.

Galleries

"There is a certain joy in making things in a small scale where your ideas move fast and the craft of making them is much more hands on, manageable and immediate".
Greer Twiss has been modelling the human figure for over 60 years, initially in the form of puppets while still a boy.
1937   
           Born Auckland, New Zealand
1956-59 
          Attended the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland
1960-63 
          Attended Auckland Teachers' College;Exhibited in numerous group exhibitions
1964
                First solo exhibition at Ikon Gallery Auckland and Eric Sholes Gallery, Rotorua;Athletes Group commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery
1965
                Awarded QEII Travel Grant to Britain and Europe - studied the lost-wax process
1969
                Completed Karangahape Road Fountain - Auckland City Council commission;Exhibited in Mildura Triennale, Australia
1974-98
           Head of Sculpture at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland
1977
Exhibited in Sydney Sculpture Biennale, National Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Australia
1981 
               Greer Twiss Sculpture, Survey Show 1959-1981, Wellington City Art Gallery
1983
Nine works purchased by the National Art Gallery, Wellington
2002
               Made an Officer of the Order of Merit (ONZM) for sculpture in the Queen's Birthday Honours
2003  
              Greer Twiss Sculpture, A Survey Show 1959-1981 toured by Auckland City Art Gallery
2004  
              Two new public sculptures at Auckland's Viaduct and Domain
2011
                Arts Foundation Icon Award recipient

Awards