Simon Esling


trademark quasi-organic forms….[1]

Clouds, comets and constellations appear amongst arteries, vital organs and fleshy orifices in the bewildering imaginings of Simon Esling. Architectural, anatomical and astronomical elements are cross-bred with military vehicles, evergreen forests and stony crags. I-beams, fountains, bungalows, mausoleums and suburban houses are perched upon or nestled within veins, bones, cartilage, tendons and viscera. Armoured vehicles, warplanes and weapons present themselves to precarious cliffs, territories also contested by mature trees. These small wooded 'planets' extend across blank space, sometimes cross-sectional, schematic and colonised by biological, mechanical and environmental forces.

These complex and eccentric situations are crafted with a text-book precision, often in pencil, ink, watercolour on paper or sometimes on plywood using Flashe (a water-soluble vinyl). Here textured paper or patterned wood-grain become vast spaces or backgrounds upon which meticulous drawings emerge. Contrasting with the centrality of these immaculate drawings is Esling’s use of atmospheric watercolour washes and pools of swirling ink.   Operating alongside these twisted and hallucinatory diagrams is Esling's sculptural practice in which these amalgamations are realised ion three dimensional forms.

Meticulous and unique, each of Esling’s works conjures up precarious worlds which are overgrown, hybrid and clouded by the peculiar forces of nature. In zero-gravity there floats a profusion of strange, monstrous and intriguing environments. Perhaps prophetic, these augmented and improvised locations fuse the protective and the threatening within a virtuosic tableau, the significance of which one can only dream.


Simon Esling (b. 1973) currently lives and works in Auckland and graduated Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland with a Masters in Fine Arts (1st class honours) in 2005. Esling has exhibited nationally and internationally in private galleries as well as artist-run and public spaces. Recent exhibitions include: Suicide Pavilions (Blue Oyster Project Space, Dunedin, 2012), Simon Esling & Megan Hansen-Knarhoi (Melanie Roger Gallery, Auckland, 2012), The Music of Chance (Melanie Roger, Auckland, 2011) and Six Obstructions (Gus Fisher, University of Auckland, 2010). He has also exhibited within curated exhibitions and group shows including The International Plain Notebook Project (Gymnasia Herzliya, Tel Aviv, 2012), As it Stands (Paper Mill Gallery, Sydney, 2011) and Local Transit (Artspace, Auckland, 2006). Esling has received significant recognition for his work. In 2010 he was 1st Runner Up in the Wallace Art Awards and in 2007 he won the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award. His work has been featured in recent publications such as Public Good (2013) curated and edited by Kim Paton; Dick Frizzell’s It’s all about the Image (2011) and Warwick Brown’s Seen This Century: 100 Contemporary New Zealand Artists: A Collector’s Guide (2009).

For additional information and a complete CV please contact the gallery.

[1]Warwick Brown, Seen This Century: 100 Contemporary New Zealand Artists. A Collector’s Guide (Random House New Zealand: Auckland, 2009), p. 116.

Selected Media.

    John Hurrell, Eyecontact review
    Anna Parlane, Gus Fisher Gallery catalogue
    Warwick Brown, Seen This Centuary, Godwit
    Simon Esling, Anna Bibby Gallery