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Chapman's work is distinguished by his dramatic painterly touch. Powerful, gestural swathes of paint convey his engagement with the medium as a vehicle for colour, texture and expression across compositions ranging from the figurative to the loosest of landscapes.
Anton Chapman studied Fine Art at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, completing a Diploma in Fine Art in 1979 before travelling to Rome to take up a Scholarship year at the Accademia Di Belle Arti. Returning to South Africa, Chapman lectured in both Painting and History of Art at Rhodes University before completing his Masters in Fine Art (with distinction) in 1987. He continued to lecture in Painting at the University of Durban, Westville, before immigrating to New Zealand to take up a teaching position at the Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, where he taught from 1994-2004. Chapman is now a full-time artist and private tutor.
Chapman's style brings life to his subject matter through an intense and emotive process of building, layering, scraping and brusquely applying paint - the physicality of Chapman's work cannot be ignored.
As long-standing NZ Herald Art Critic TJ McNamara wrote in 2004 of Chapman's work Turangawaewae:
In Turangawaewae the paint is applied in big choppy gestures that set our imagination working on rock and hill and sky and the flow of water. This is expressed in thick paint, handled with vivid spontaneity. It conveys joy in the act of painting and in the possibilities of paint as a medium for both abstraction and suggestion.
Chapman has held numerous solo exhibitions in New Zealand and was selected in 2005 as a finalist in the Wallace Trust Art Awards.