Sum - John Edgar at Artis Gallery, 9 October to 6 November, 2001.
by Peter Simpson, Sunday Star Times, 21 October 2001.

In the past John Edgar's exhibition titles tended to emphasize the landscape and geological affinities of his stone sculptures, as in 'Lie of the Land'. More recent titles have pointed to more abstract and mathematical connotations as in 'Digit' and his new show 'Sum'. The work itself has not changed profoundly - it still consists, primarily, of the technically sophisticated (and very beautiful) layering or banding of contrasting stones.

With a couple of exceptions the new show consists of six 'Codes' and six 'Operators' which interact dynamically with each other both aesthetically and conceptually. The 'Codes' are slabs of granite, sandstone or marble, with alternating slim vertical bands of colour-and-texture-contrasted stone, the effect being reminiscent of the digital codes that are a ubiquitous part of the contemporary world. Typically these pieces are about a metre in length, 150 to 250 mm high, and around 50 mm thick. The 'Operators' are large ovoid stones quarterised by thin crossed bands of contrasting colour and material, such as red granite and white marble, or black granite and white marble. The shapes can be read as either crosses or plus signs, the latter reading being implied by the titling.

In combination these brilliantly crafted pieces generate multiple connotations, though the more dynamic readings take into account both the natural origins of materials and the abstract signs into which they have been rendered by the artist's immaculate stone joinery.


Sum - John Edgar at Artis Gallery, 9 October to 6 November, 2001.
by T.J. McNamara, NZ Herald, 15 October 2001.

Infrared to Ultraviolet

....At the ultra-violet end of the spectrum are the chaste, still, stone sculptures of John Edgar. Most of the works in the show are ovoids of stone intersected by narrow crosses. The craftsmanship is flawless. The joins between the different-coloured stones are immaculate. The result is something that is completely natural, emphasising the qualities of the stone. Yet it is also completely artificial because the contrasting strips are clearly the precise result of human intervention.

What this paradox does is focus our attention on the nature of the stone - hard, sometimes opaque, sometimes transparent, but pure, unblemished and polished. As well as the oval stones and landscapes of marble with vertical strata there is a tall shape supported by thick brackets. This column is broken at the top but two-thirds up there are layers of glass. The glass reveals the rod that sustains the structure and it is debatable whether this clear explication of structure adds to the effect. Yet undeniably this dark column, called Transformer, has a solemn, dignified presence.

This is art at its most abstract; reliant on the simplest of forms and the qualities of the material - no symbols, no story-telling, no social comment, just purity like alpine air.