John Hurrell – 29 October, 2010
It will be interesting to see where Rae goes from here, if she moves towards the more social thematic content implied in her previous solo shows at Jensen, or stays ensconced within the quietist contemplative tradition of Vermeer, Chardin and Morandi. For this former director of South Island Art Projects (a precursor of The Physics Room) this current show could be interpreted as backtracking - a bit of a retreat.
12 October - 13 November 2010
A Baker’s Dozen still lifes are presented by Jude Rae here at Jensen’s - nine oils (eight in gallery, one in office) and four watercolours. The oils demonstrate the artist’s skill at rendering the effects of light when raking across ceramic objects on a shelf, or passing through blue plastic bottles of drinking water. She blends a Morandilike obsession with lined up chinaware and spatial projections, with the softly muted colour control Chardin used to show the behaviour of light on solid forms.
The more intimate smaller paintings of angularly planed chinaware work best. There are a number of reasons.
Firstly their warm tones (with no transparent icey plastic or watery blue) enhance the Chardinesque ambience, and the use of fewer, often lower, objects concentrate the viewer’s gaze. The humbleness of the functional items gets accentuated this way, and the scanning spread of the gaze is strictly limited: not too high, not too wide.
Both sorts demonstrate the artist’s interest in reflection, especially in that of the bench’s glossy top plane, and also a use of a red undercoat that besides providing a chromatic warmth helps delineate a thin horizontal line that could be the undercoat of the rendered shelf, or the undercoat of the painting you are looking at.
With the larger works the more spread out and complex compositions are also ambiguous in their interpretative possibilities. The overlapping, various shaped forms could almost be a crowd of differently proportioned people standing on a street, or the glowing blue-bottled water a section of window with outside sky.
It will be interesting to see where Rae goes from here, if she moves towards the more social thematic content implied in her previous solo show at Jensen, or stays with the quietist contemplative tradition of Vermeer, Chardin and Morandi. For this former director of South Island Art Projects (a precursor of The Physics Room) this current show could be interpreted as backtracking - a bit of a retreat.
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