Don Driver

Hastings, New Zealand, 1930 - 2011

Although born in Hastings, Don Driver lived and worked his entire life in New Plymouth. Driver’s work is often characterised by its deployment of symbols of rural Taranaki vernacular—forty-four gallon drums, burlap sacks, rusted farming implements—but  is far from parochial in its  outlook. His  assemblages sit comfortably alongside the works of his international contemporaries such as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Driver was largely self-taught: after high school, he worked as an apprentice dental technician and as a manager in a paint shop. From 1969 on, however, Driver worked for New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

Driver’s early works were figurative sculptures, but he is best known for found-object assemblages such as Lawn Cuttings (1976), Fetish (1978) and Yellow Tentacle Pram (1980), in which a cluster of yellow drainpipes transform a Victorian child’s pram into a sinister mollusc. In these works, Driver takes materials sourced from the detritus of small-town New Zealand and infuses them with a distinctly international neo-Dadaist approach. In the years since his death, Driver’s reputation as one of New Zealand’s most unique and influential artistic voices has continued to grow.

Auction Results

Music While you Work

1997

found bill hook, rope, plastic tubing, tarpaulin and disassembled cassette player

1000mm x 275mm

Achieved $3,450

Uniform

1996

acrylic, film poster, newspaper, Xerox copies and rubberised canvas

890mm x 940mm

Estimate $3,000 - $5,000

Red Pocket (with blade)

1981-2

tarpaulin, found woollen skirt, rubberised canvas, twine and sickle

1085mm x 810mm

Estimate $6,000 - $9,000

Technic

1982

canvas, rubberised canvas, webbing, tarpaulin and dowel

1680mm x 1200mm

Achieved $14,070

Trouser Piece

1981

canvas, found woollen pants, found socks, denim and synthetic rope

1725mm x 2240mm

Estimate $15,000 - $20,000

Time

1992-7

Xerox, magazine cuttings, canvas, tarpaulin and vinyl

960mm x 730mm

Estimate $1,000 - $2,000

Fibre Glass

1996

enamel on fibreglass and polystyrene on board, artist-made frame

940mm x 1240mm

Estimate $5,000 - $8,000