Joan Fear

b. 1932d. 2022

Also known as:

  • Joan Elizabeth Gibbison

Joan Fear (nee Gibbison) was born in Raglan (Whaingaroa) in 1932. Although unable to attend art school, she took correspondence art classes while at high school and sought guidance from her sister who received art training through a Teaching Diploma. Later, when living in Hamilton, Fear attended night school art classes.

On moving to Hamilton in the 1950's Fear joined the Waikato Society of Arts (WSA), through which she began exhibiting landscape and portrait paintings. She was a founding tutor at the WSA School of Art, passing on her skills in watercolour and oils.

She was a strong supporter of the arts and this was recognised by her investiture as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2006.

Curator of her 2012 retrospective exhibition at the Waikato Museum, Leafa Wilson, describes Fear as the greatest Waikato painter of the 20th century: "Technically, she was a brilliant painter... her ability to mould and shape paint was exemplary and sculptural and beautiful and was deeply informed by not just what she saw but by intuiting and interpreting nature".

~ cited from Richard Swainson, 'An artist, from school blackboard sketch to exhibitions: Joan Elizabeth Fear MNZM, 1932-2022'.

See also:

Joan Fear & Campbell Smith, ‘Untitled’ (1998), ArtPost Building, CBD, Kirikiriroa Hamilton

Images: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2022