Christina Conrad has been called New Zealand's greatest living artist. She is certainly its greatest eccentric. An obsessive poet, playwright and "outsider" painter & sculptor, she lived as a recluse for twenty years without electricity or running water, where she "kept her paintings in cupboards instead of food". Her work is disarmingly original and not easily pigeon-holed, nor does the term "outsider" sit easily with her, suggesting as it does someone who is untrained. Conrad's paintings and clay sculptures possess a focus that reflects a rigorous self-training. What one perceives as polish is essentially her obsessive preoccupation with allowing the paint its own life.
"One must leave the ego at the door of the tomb, and create like a blind beggar who hears nothing and knows nothing," she explains. "In this way the painting has a chance to be born whole, without the insidious tampering that adulterates false creative acts."