Born in Auckland, Glen Wolfgramm is a self-taught artist of Tongan and Irish descent, and is a member of Tongan arts collective No'o Fakataha. Glen has steadily exhibited since 1998 and has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He was selected to represent New Zealand at the Biennale d’Art Contemporain in Noumea in 2000, and in the same year was a finalist in the Wallace Art Awards. Since then he has been a finalist in multiple art awards, his work appears
Liquid media, mark making and painterly process are at the core of Glen’s practice. At a glimpse his work is physical, dynamic, fractured, architectural, and idiosyncratic. On closer view his paintings reverberate with the echoes of both Celtic and Polynesian motifs, that are pitched in a layered collision between submerged patterns, structural units, tonal shifts and personal narrative. The painting as a vessel in movement, containing recounted histories and future possibilities. Within the nebulous building and breaking of the surface, there lies a dynamic tension, a calibration of identities of contemporary cultural experiences and conflicts, the likes of which are central to a redefining of New Zealand’s ethnographic landscape and a mapping of new territories. Like set forth emissaries, his paintings migrate on unset terms, pushing back pulling forward, weaving new narratives out of the hyperdrive of an ever evolving visual language.
In the painting Hood X (2012), a car bonnet salvaged from a local car wrecker becomes a surface where modulating tones of black and white play out amidst a confluence of dynamic vertical and horizontal shards. This amounts to a central form that takes shape through a controlled and energetic chaos, leading in and out, laying claim to potential beyond the obvious spatial plane. Chromatically pared back to red and black, Islander (2013) is a large scale work that grapples with the creation of depth via the use of perspective compositional approaches. Like glitched out swarming retinal fragments, the constituent parts simultaneously conflate forwards and backwards revealing allusions to urban architectural forms, and fluctuating half glimpses of patterns evocative of those found in traditional Pacific art forms.
Glen has exhibited in a number of group and solo exhibitions including: 10 New Paintings, Orexart, 2016; Tonga i Onopooni: Tonga Contemporary, Forrester Gallery, Oamaru, 2015; Tonga i Onopooni: Tonga Contemporary, Pataka, Wellington, 2015; Colors, Orexart, Auckland, 2014; Pacific Voices II, Orexart, Auckland, 2013; Pacific Voices, Orexart, Auckland, 2012; Wave, Orexart, Auckland, 2012; Matala: No'o Fakataha, Mangere Arts Centre - Ngā Tohu o Uenuku, Auckland, 2012; Come Here Palangi, Orexart, Auckland, 2010; The New Pacific, Orexart, Auckland, 2009; Flat White Black Pearl, Te Karanga Gallery, Auckland, 2008; Biennale d'Art Contemporain, Centre culturel Tjibaou, Nouméa, 2000.