Black Granite 4 Gold, 2017
Granite and sandstone
115 x 63 x 23 mm
Meet John Edgar John Edgar has achieved international renown over three decades for his enormous technical sophistication, necessary to create works without flaw, fault, scratch or blemish. Pursuing the ancient knowledge of stone carving techniques in his travels to China, Korea, Taiwan and India, Edgar has also physically explored the great quarries of Scotland, Australia and India, and prospected in New Zealand’s wild South Island. Central to his practice of balancing concept, material and process is deep regard for the environment. He says, 'these slices of the land are revelations of how intimately the environment meshes. How seamless are the interrelationships of earth and sky, land and sea, heaven and earth, black and white? The convergence of the two into one...'
Browse John's work here
More From John
The learning of an ancient and secret craft amazes and excites me. To know that I am connected to that person who first flaked a blade from stone, who drilled a hole through stone, who incised a line on a stone; to understand the genealogy: that is the stone line.
Art, imagination and creativity are fundamental human activities, and have been since the first humans made cave paintings. Through art, identity is created and communicated, and members of a community are empowered by what they share in common, be it social, cultural or spiritual. One of the important functions of art is to bring people together and provide an understanding of who we are and what our values are.
To realise the process of metamorphosis in carving a stone by natural ways and by magical forces; to see the process of metamorphism whereby base rocks and minerals are transformed into stones of great beauty; to understand the relief of the land eroded by the elements: that is the stone line.
Many times I have been surprised and excited by what friends or strangers tell me about what my art means to them, and how it has enriched their life. I find that young people often have a great perception of an artwork, perhaps as they have fewer preconceptions and an open mind. This has been an ongoing source of inspiration and encouragement to me.
My early work was almost entirely in nephrite jade. The New Zealand jade fields yield material equal in quality to any other source in the world. I was lucky to accumulate a wide variety of high quality jades before the proliferation of the greenstone souvenir in the 1980's saw large quantities of jades from the very best alluvial sources reduced to crude and meaningless trinkets.
The continued exploitation of New Zealand's most special and unique resource horrified me and my introduction in 1980 to metasomatised argillite, the tools material of the Maori Pakohe, initiated a new awareness in my work. Argillites, together with metasomatised basalt and greywacke, jasper and granite became my main working stones, and as I began to appreciate their inherent beauty so jade was raised higher in my esteem making it most rare and precious in its intractable green beauty.
It still is and always will be spiritually demanding for me to work jade. Most of the uncut stones that I have collected are far too unique for me to ever consider carving. They are the true forms, the true surfaces to which I aspire.