Areas of Expertise

Professor Kirkham is interested in contemporary art production, exhibition, and curation.

Teaching Interests

Professor Kirkham teaches a range of studio art courses including 3-D Design (sculpture), Introduction & Advanced Painting, and periodically an Interdisciplinary Workshop class focusing on exhibition making. His classes focus on creative and generative processes explored within clearly defined rules, frames, and concepts. He encourages students to search, enquire, engage, and use their creativity as an integral part of the making process. He places emphasis on thinking through making, experimentation, and critical analysis, which he believes fosters student innovation. In both making and teaching art, he tends to take a playful approach grounded in art history and contemporary art practices.

Research and Professional Practice

In his past research, Professor Kirkham focused on subversive acts in modern and contemporary Western art, such as Slacker Art, Lucio Fontana’s paintings, in which he cuts through the picture plane, and Jessica Stockholder’s immersive painterly installations. Particularly interested in understanding ‘play’ as a subversion of ‘work’ in an institutional context, he investigated how ‘play’ could be used as a generative tool to produce artworks, performances, and situations.

Currently Professor Kirkham takes the expanded field of painting and installation art as a starting point and focuses on themes of time, spatiality, material culture, consumer culture, and the everyday. His multi-disciplinary multimedia works all wrangle with various states of impermanence through a study of movement, stillness, and time. He implicates and activates materials, documents, thoughts, references, and everyday objects as emerging thoughts or symbols suspended in process.

Professor Kirkham is also a curator and runs a non-profit art & project space in Tokyo, where he organizes exhibitions and events by local and international artists.


Bachelor of Visual Arts, Auckland University of Technology, 2001
Honours Degree in Art and Design, Auckland University of Technology, 2002

Professional Associations

Co-founder and Director of Goya Curtain Art and Project Space, Tokyo