Olivier Duhamel is a French artist born in 1957.
After many years of traveling in Europe, Central Africa and the South Pacific, Olivier Duhamel moved to New Zealand in 1987 and adopted his nationality in 1992.
He lives and works on the small island of Waiheke not far from Auckland where he spends his time setting up his artisanal foundry and a network of galleries representing his work in New Zealand, Australia and Europe.
He teaches bronze casting and also publishes a foundry manual. His main source of inspiration is the feminine nude he interprets in pencil with a great attention to detail but especially through an innovative figurative sculpture: sculpture called “glued laminated”.
The work of Olivier Duhamel can be defined as that of a figurative sculptor who has acquired a great deal of control over the human form, which he declines in bronze, wood and acrylic. Through his creations, he tries to capture the beauty and sensuality of his subjects of study. In art, he is particularly interested in beauty, emotion and mastery of techniques.
Olivier Duhamel is a prolific artist who has acquired a mastery of the human form through years of practice of the time honoured discipline of life drawing. He initially grew a reputation as a meticulous portrait artist and then established himself as a leading New Zealand sculptor for his delicate and elegant bronze figurines. However, one aspect of his practice remains constant in his source of inspiration, the female nude. “I really like contemporary dance and wish that I could capture as much beauty and emotion with my sculptures that dancers can express with their body”
His more recent wooden sculptures and exploration of digital media are compulsive viewing and people are often fascinated by their fluctuating lights or by the translucence of his acrylic works, imbuing a resolutely contemporary texture to his rather classical and academic shapes. Once metamorphosed into static effigies, his model’s forms surprisingly retain their motion; the artist’s skilful attention to details brings out their countenance and personality. The translucence of the acrylic lets light reflect the vitality and the dynamic of the pose. Likewise, the dual tone of the wood pieces produces highlights that appears or wanes depending on the point of view, changing the appearance and texture of the sculpture’ s topography. The stiffness and strength of these materials are distinctively opposed to the softness and suppleness of the body, yet, under the hands of the sculptor, the curves of the flesh and folds of skin are delicately suggested in a celebration of the beauty, energy and sensuality of these women.
“Through my creations I am trying to capture the beauty and sensuality of my subjects of study. When it comes to art, I am chiefly concerned with beauty, emotion and mastery of my craft. I am hoping that people find my work enchanting rather than thought provoking.”
Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd 3D Award -Taranaki National Art awards 2013, New Zealand
Public’s choice awards 2013”, Waitakere Art Council, New Zealand
Winner, People’s choice award SEAF 2018 – Seattle, Washington, USA