Thursday, December 08, 2011

Don Driver 1930 - 2011

For us there have been just three reasons to visit New Plymouth: check out the Govett-Brewster, spend time with Peter Peryer, go see Don and Joyce Driver.

The news of Don’s death this morning is not unexpected but is a shock. We first met Don in the early 1970s when he was moving on from making highly finished abstract paintings and starting with his great large banners assembled from tarpaulins, clothing, sacks, tools and whatever else captured his attention. It was quite a time. Some of our most memorable experiences over the years have been fossicking around in his various studios with Don and discovering what he had been up to.

Don was never a great talker so the silences were as memorable and as eloquent as the conversation. He was a gentle man who made tough, raucous, and magnificent work. Audiences were often riled by his challenges but Don was implacable. He knew what he wanted to do and he did it. Of course such determination came with a cost, and we can't fully express our admiration for Joyce and for their daughter Justine and her family for the enduring support they gave him freely and with love. Joyce's determination matched Don's and her unwavering confidence in the work was always an inspiration.

New Plymouth without Don Driver. Such an unlikely idea. But even without his presence all of us who know his work will always see the city through his eyes. The ordinary made extraordinary. Even so we will miss him deeply.