A true multi-media artist, acclaimed sculptor Gregor Kregar nurtures a diverse approach to his work. He has experimented with clay and stainless steel, recycled wood and rubbish, video and cardboard, he often takes a mundane subject, plays with scale, repetition, and materials, and transforms it into something suddenly worthy of closer inspection – such as a number of works based on the humble, kitschy garden gnome. The largest, Reflective Lullaby, is a 9m polished stainless-steel behemoth, will command attention on a Melbourne motorway for several years.
Born in Slovenia and with an MFA from Auckland’s Elam, this will be Kregar’s second time judging the World of WearableArt™ Awards. He has exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally, and is a frequent contributor to public art collections. He has been invited to participate in several New Zealand and international art residency programmes, including in China and the United States; and his work has been included in prestigious collections in New Zealand and around the world, including at Te Papa, Waiheke Island’s Connells Bay Sculpture Park, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and in the Francis J. Greenburger Collection in New York. His work has been recognised by multiple awards, including the 2000 Wallace Art Award.
Awards of which Kregar is particularly proud include winning both the Lexus Premier Award and the People’s Choice Award at Waiheke Island’s Headland Sculpture on the Gulf in 2013, for Pavilion Structure, a large interactive shelter made from recycled timber, set with swings. It is particularly rewarding, he says, when his work is welcomed both critically by the art establishment and also in the minds of the public.
“I do like the idea that sculpture can potentially hold this more democratic value, apart from being viewed as a beautiful object,” he says. “Quite often what people respond to and what so-called art experts respond to is different, but in that work I managed to push buttons for both audiences. I think it’s really good to see that contemporary art can do that. I enjoy it when works are successful on different levels.