Neil lives in Clyde and started his painting career in 1973. He has a studio at home that overlooks the Clutha River and he draws inspiration from the Central Otago landscape, still life and interiors looking through open doors and windows.
Neil Driver’s style of painting is most commonly called ‘realist’. He uses many layers of thin acrylic paint, slowly building up tone and colour. Using the process of observation and analysis Neil often changes reality by reassembling and altering elements within each painting. What at first sight appears to be a photographic-like image is in fact a reordering of the actual scene. The landscapes and interiors are empty of people but open doors and chairs acknowledge their presence. Through light and shadow Neil punctuates his paintings with a mood of stillness and calmness which give his paintings a timeless quality.
Article in Verve magazine August 2012
Born and raised in Dunedin, Neil Driver moved to Central Otago in 1975. It is from this land that he derives his inspiration, with its magical light and breathtaking landscapes. Driver is a painter of light. From landscape to still life, his work evokes serenity, calmness and effortless grace. Painting in a mixture of traditional and contemporary styles that is uniquely his own, Driver often depicts details that are generally overlooked by the human eye. This gifted artist brings life and beauty to the simplest objects, such as a shirt hanging on a chair, a tablecloth or bowl of fruit.
Through light and shadow Driver punctuates his paintings with a mood of stillness and calm that gives his works a timeless quality. His paintings cannot be categorised as realism – there is more of an implied presence of something you never see. Whether it is a window frame in the foreground with a surreal background or looking through veranda doors, the lean towards surrealism is evident. He focuses on painting landscapes and interiors where humans are absent, but their presence is intensely felt through open doors and empty chairs. Driver builds up his paintings with layers of transparent acrylic paint, slowly building up tone and colour that give each painting an individual dreamlike and surreal quality.
Driver has been exhibiting in New Zealand since 1975 and his works are in private collections worldwide and in public collections at the Hocken Library, Department of Foreign Affairs, Bank of New Zealand and State Services Commission.