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Greer Twiss

Greer Twiss’s Biography

Last Updated:
11/03/2021, 10:38 am
Arts Foundation Icon 2011
Greer Twiss ONZM is the longest continually producing sculptor in New Zealand, and has become one of the country’s most prominent and respected artists and teachers.

Greer Twiss was born in 1937. From an early age he became interested in making puppets, putting on marionette performances for both live audiences and television. His first public performance was in 1946 at the St John's Ambulance Society, and he went on to study at the Elam School of Fine Arts where he graduated with honours. He became interested in cast metals and, in 1965, he was awarded a QEII Arts Council Travel Grant enabling him to travel to Britain and Europe where he studied the lost-wax process. Twiss’ work encompasses a wide variety of materials 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 Twiss began, so he had to set up his own foundry.

Twiss has exhibited extensively in both group and solo exhibitions throughout New Zealand and overseas. He has been the subject of two retrospective exhibitions at City Gallery Wellington and Auckland Art Gallery, and his sculptures are included in all major public and many private collections in New Zealand. He is also represented in numerous international collections.

Twiss 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 a New Zealander Order of Merit (ONZM) for Sculpture in the Queen's Birthday Honours (2002).