Philippa Blair

b. 1945

Philippa Blair was born in Christchurch in 1945. In 1967 she completed a Diploma of Fine Arts (Painting) at the Ilam School of Fine Art, University of Canterbury, studying with Rudolf Gopas and Don Peebles. She went on to undertake studies towards a Bachelor of Arts across Canterbury, Massey and Auckland universities before completing her Secondary Teacher's Diploma at the Auckland Teachers' College in 1976.

Moving to Melbourne, Blair taught at the Loreto Convent (now Loreto College Ballarat) from 1969-1970. She subsequently moved to Brisbane where she worked as a Graphic Artist for ABCTV. It is here that Blair began to exhibit her paintings.

Returning to Melbourne, she continued to work and exhibit consistently as a painter while also raising two daughters. In 1984 she was Artist in Residence at the Canberra School of Art, before relocating to Christchurch in 1985 to take up the position of Acting Head of Painting at the University of Canterbury. In 1995 she moved to California as the Visiting Artist to the Art Center, College of Design (Graduate Programme) at Pasadena. From 2002 to 2009 Blair was Painting Tutor at the Santa Reparata International School of Art's summer workshops in Florence, Italy. She returned to Auckland in 2014.

Blair has developed an abstract painting practice attending to ideas of movement and temporality. She has exhibited consistently since the 1970s and was recognised with QEII Arts Council Grants in 1980 and 1984, an artist residency with the Painting Department of the Canberra School of Art (1984) and a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Travel Award in 1987.

See also:

Philippa Blair, ‘Tree of Knowledge’ (1984), City Campus, University of Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Images: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021