Dynamo Hum


Denys Watkins
Foreword by Matt Blomeley
Essays by Anna Miles and Francis McWhannell
Conversation with Allan Smith and Denys Watkins

Published by Rim Books in association with Bath Street Arts TrustDesign by Index – Jonty Valentine

DYNAMO HUM is an artist book by Denys Watkins, featuring his paintings from 2004 to 2016.

Denys is a highly respected New Zealand contemporary artist. A long serving teacher of thirty-one years at Elam School of Fine Arts that, in 2011, he left to pursue full-time studio art practice.

Here he turns his multifaceted interests to creating a book as art statement.

From the introduction by Matt Blomeley:

Dynamo Hum presents an enticing and rare glimpse into the practice of an artist whose work bridges several generations yet remains undeniably in the present . . .

Completely resolved formally, yet liminal and mysterious, Denys Watkins’ paintings are the result of endless curiosity and intense labour . . .

Viewed en masse, the effect is like a jukebox of carefully curated 45s, each work and title a modernist tone poem reflecting the fascinations and recalled moments of an individual with a voracious appetite for culture . . .

Watkins has observed all manner of cultural artifacts in an artistic career now spanning five decades. Images, objects, textures, sounds and shapes, anything deemed relevant and necessary to a particular composition or series has been fair game within his visual milieu.

The metaphor of music is especially relevant for Watkins; a keen guitarist and avid music fan. Recent years have seen him combining nature and abstraction. Reflecting his humanism and concerns for the natural world, the success of these paintings relies on carefully working out the corybantic visual stimuli residing within each composition until a fine level of balance is achieved. It is a compelling way of engaging with abstraction. Adhere labels as you please: on point, political, environmental, bricoleur, collector, craftsman . . .

Discussing his work, Watkins says, ‘It’s a sort of tapestry of information, weaving in events and histories and all determined by the way the paint goes down, then embellished to construct formal visual activity.’

Dynamo Hum is the inaugural project for Bath Street Arts Trust. The philosophy of Bath Street Arts Trust is to invite and support outstanding New Zealand artists to realise significant projects they might not have the capacity to deliver independently.

The book’s design was a collaboration between the artist, designer Jonty Valentine, Book Binding Press and Soar Arts, a specialist arts printing unit within Soar Print headed by Stuart Shepherd.
• Case bound and section sewn
• 64 pages printed on 170 gsm gloss
• 32 pages printed on 140 gsm offset
• End papers 160 gsm Kaskad Warbler
• Cover – Savanah red woven linen
• Cover embellishment – foil over linen using silver black foil

ISBN 978-0-9941306-5-5


November 2017

96pp, case-bound hard-cover, 43 colour plates, 305mm x 235mm

Edition of 500 copies.  RRP NZ$80 inc. GST

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