Artist, teacher and philanthropist Max Gimblett is now a doctor. The New York-based New Zealander has had an honorary doctorate conferred at the University of Waikato.
Dr Gimblett, 82, said he was honoured and humbled to receive the title.
Dr Gimblett has forged a record of artistic achievement unmatched by any other New Zealand artist in terms of his international practice and exposure, while at the same time developing a consistent and passionate following in New Zealand.
His work has contributed in a distinctive way to the dialogue between East and West, fusing elements from Eastern spirituality, calligraphy, and sumi ink painting with Western concepts of abstract expressionism, modernism and pop art.
His approach to art is deeply spiritual, drawing from Buddhism, Christianity and classical mythology. He is best known for his use of the quatrefoil, the female form of the cross and a shape with deep significance in Eastern and Western religious symbolism.
As an artist and scholar, Dr Gimblett has been prolific. His works have been shown in more than 100 solo exhibitions and are held in many of the world’s most notable public and private collections, galleries and museums.
Dr Gimblett is also a generous benefactor, having donated substantial bodies of work to the Christchurch Art Gallery, St David’s Memorial Church in Grafton, the University of Waikato and a number of other public galleries and educational institutions.
After receiving his honorary doctorate, Dr Gimblett said while he’s long been a New York resident, New Zealand is still very much in his heart. He’s never lost his Kiwi twang and he visits home each year, sometimes more than once. “And I might come back to live. I think I’d rather be an old man in Auckland than an old man in Manhattan,” he said.