Richard Shanks was born in 1965 in Auckland, a fifth-generation New Zealander with a powerful connection of the New Zealand landscape. His mother and his maternal grandmother drew and painted. His father was an award-winning photographer. Weekends and holidays were spent on numerous road trips and Richard began drawing at an early age; interpreting the landscape on a spontaneous, almost instinctive level.
Richard began painting formally in the 1990s, initially in egg tempera and subsequently in oils: architectural forms; in both urban and rural landscapes, have been the predominant subject matter.
Richard paints full time and his work resides in private and corporate collections in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The work has also been exhibited with Ferner Galleries in Auckland and Wellington; with the Auckland Drawing Group; and in Australia at Delshan Galleries in Armadale, Melbourne.
Kevin Ireland, New Zealand’s literary “elder statesman”, wrote the following about Richard Shanks work: “we realise that we are being asked to confront the inner magic of landscapes and cityscapes that we too easily take for granted, and to experience a haunting suggestion of the way time passes and memory endures.. we become aware of an artistic imagination that seems, mysteriously, to project itself in wonderment, into every brushstroke.”
Richard’s work is a result of continual forays into the landscape, often visiting and revisiting an area or image that conveys, to the artist, an authentic mood or atmosphere, a quality of light and shadow, an almost hidden essence. The works are detailed and based on detailed drawings and photographs, but are rarely literal: rather, they are interpretations, or imaginative reconstructions; a merging of the seen with the unseen.