HSC Visual Art Resources

A resource site for visual art teachers and secondary students completing their HSC in the Visual Arts


Reuben Paterson
The Bed’s Spread of Provocation 2009
glitter and acrylic on canvas
200 x 200 cm
image credits: http://www.bos17.com

Reuben Paterson
Folkloric 2011
glitter and synthetic polymer on canvas
1200 x 1200cm
image credits: http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz

Reuben Paterson, born 1973 in Auckland, New Zealand, lives and works in Auckland.

Reuben Pateson creates large scale paintings consisting largely of glitter, created in traditional Maori patterns, referencing his own heritage. The use of glitter gives these artworks a postmodern twist, drawing on optical illusion art and Andy Warhol’s Diamond Shoes, resulting in bright, luminous colours that sparkle out from the canvas, creating the Whakapapa, a Maori term for referencing history, myths, orders in genealogy, knowledge and spiritual stories central to the Maori belief system. Paterson’s creations reinterpret cultural Maori motifs and patterns, merging both western and indigenous artmaking.

The artworks themselves are made through built up layers of glitter until no background is left visible. This creates a time consuming construction period, as each line, curve of colour is individually set without spilling into the other coloured sections or blurring the sharpness of the patterns edges required. Paterson uses different koru and kowhaiwhaiand floral designs as kaleidoscopic images, central to his heritage, as well as the creation of animal and landscape glitter paintings.

Everything I’ve done is moving. Within the kinetic light of glitter, there’s a connected form of movement in every series I’ve done. I believe in the eye, and how we look, interact and interpret things. The eye is how we see the shortness and longevity of our lives.

– Reuben Paterson

The act of looking twice has always inspired and intrigued me; it’s the fact of seeing, and of not being able to see, of knowing, and of yet to learn, of being drawn into a picture to discover multiple layers of visual truths, those images that are obvious, and those that are hidden.

– Reuben Paterson

Reuben Paterson
Keith 2011
glitter and synthetic polymer on canvas
1200 x 1200
image credits: http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz

Reuben Paterson
Loss of Self, Seduction, Intoxication – by Eruption 2007
Glitter, enamel, and polyurethane varnish on dibond aluminum
1500 x 3000 mm
image credits: http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz



  • Reuben Paterson born in New Zealand
  • creates artworks that reference his Maori heritage and history
  • explores non traditional materials


  • made primarily from glitter
  • depicts modern twists on traditional Maori patterns
  • design influenced on the Whakapapa


  • accesses artwork through galleries and museums
  • fascinated by the use of an unconventional (seen as craft) material, such as glitter
  • may recognise some of the Maori patters
  • may know the meaning behind the term, Whakapapa


  • explores Maori heritage and histories
  • references the Whakapapa
  • interprets post modern art such as optical illusion art

Reuben Paterson
Prometheus 2007
Glitter, enamel, and polyurethane varnish on dibond aluminum
150 x 300 cm
image credits: http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz

Reuben Paterson
Worry for the Sake of Flow 2011
glitter and synthetic polymer on canvas
200 x 200 cm
image credits: http://www.artwhatson.com.au



  • reaction to bright colours
  • reminded of childhood kaleidoscope toys
  • feelings of happiness and wonder once realising the entire piece is made from glitter


  • bright, strong colours
  • bold patterns, use of lines and blocks of colour
  • large works
  • glitter and paint (synthetic polymer) on canvas
  • patterns symbolise Maori heritage and traditions
  • references to pop art and optical illusion art
  • the blending of both western and Maori traditions in art


  • exploring Maori identity and heritage
  • references Whakapapa within the artworks
  • uses both western and indigenous art practices
  • cultural emphasis through the use of Maori designed patterns taken from fabrics and weaving designs


  • use of non-traditional materials, such as glitter
  • appropriates Maori patterns and designs
  • influenced by Andy Warhol’s Diamond Shoes, optical illusions and kaleidoscopes
  • reinterprets Maori histories and traditions

Reuben Paterson
Baguette 2011
glitter and synthetic polymer on canvas
100 x 100 cm
image credits: http://www.artwhatson.com.au

Reuben Paterson
Kevin 2011
glitter and synthetic polymer on canvas
200 x 130 cm
image credits: http://www.artwhatson.com.au


  • reinterprets, designs and patterns based from Maori traditions
  • use and effects of unconventional art materials, kitsch materials, such as glitter
  • techniques learnt in layering on the glitter without disrupting the other areas within the artwork
  • explores the Whakapapa within the artworks
  • references both western and indigenous art practices within the artworks
  • exploration of personal identity

Reuben Paterson
Tawha 2008
Glitter & acrylic on canvas
83.8 x 83.8cm
image credits: http://www.arcadja.com

Reuben Paterson
Whakapapa Get Down Upon Your Knees 2010
glitter on canvas
800 x 800cm
image credits: http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz








Reuben Parterson
Soloman Says 2008
glitterdust on canvas
560 x 600 mm
image credits: http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz

Reuben Paterson
The Passion 2009-2010
glitter on raw linen
285 x 190cm
image credits: http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz


This entry was posted on 22/07/2012 by in All, New Zealand, Painting.
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