(b. 1930), Wanganui
Ron is a tradesman, a master bricklayer. The fact that he built his own house, where even the internal walls are brick and the cement
driveway inset with local pumice, indicates that Ron has taken his
trade a step beyond the average worker.
Now in his retirement, Ron has taken his experience and
knowledge of his materials and applied it seriously to whimsy. His
series of cement Christmas cakes complete with cut slices and
decorative icing is the latest manifestation of this combination of
craft and fancy.
Ron has never stopped practicing his craft. Evolving his
own recipes for cement fondue, using local pumice sourced from
Wanganui’s wild west coast, Ron has made commemorative plinths and decorative panels for groups in the community and has achieved some local renown for his work.
The panels tend to reveal Ronís inclination toward a solid,
human-scaled geometry that nods toward the memorial monuments
of every New Zealand small-town park or playground in the 1950s. And when
these forms are thoroughly coated with a thick layer of hi-keyed
paving paint (the kind that invariably lurks in the bottom of old tins
in the garden shed), the result is a particular look, a vernacular, that
could proudly be called, west coast, suburban constructivism.