Story: Painting

Philip Clairmont, 'Staircase night triptych' (1st of 2)

Philip Clairmont, 'Staircase night triptych'

Like much of Philip Clairmont's work in the 1970s, this triptych presents a frightening encounter with his domestic environment. Clairmont commonly painted at night in artificial light, with the music blaring and with the assistance of drugs or alcohol. Here we see three different depictions of a staircase. The stairs, the bannisters and the swinging light create a sense of dizzying movement and anxiety common in his work. Primary colours – reds, yellows, blues and blacks – were Clairmont's typical palette.

Using this item

Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki, Chartwell Collection
Reference: C1994/1/197.1-3
Acrylic and oil on hessian by Philip Clairmont

Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Copyright courtesy of Rachel Power

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Painting - Expressionism and postmodernism', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 October 2021)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 22 Oct 2014