Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

JH

Esling works

AA
View Discussion
Simon Esling paintings: Comet#1, 2011; Meteor #1, 2011;  Cascade, 2010; Blink of an Eye, 2011 Simon Esling: Cascade, 2010; Blink of An Eye, 2011. Simon Esling: The Music of Chance; Rumble; Untitled. Living Inside your Head. Simon Esling: Rumble, 2011; Untitled, 2011; Living Inside Your Head, 2010

This show is an odd combination of contemplative images about thinking processes, mixed with ruminations on corporeal existence. The way the two subject matters interact is surprising. The two types of painting work well together.

Auckland

 

Simon Esling
The Music of Chance

 

23 March - 16 April 2011

Simon Esling is known for his delicate ink and watercolour works on paper showing images of finely rendered machinery, architecture, weapons or body parts, combined with flowing organic forms, gases or liquids. There is a rebuslike quality that suggests a decoding is possible after the complicated symbolic visual elements have been analysed.

The works of this type that succeed best exploit the negative spaces between depicted ‘narrative’ components. The whole surface of the paper engages you, not just the intricate bits. Those that don’t succeed fail not just because of adynamic placement but also because of the way they sit on the picture plane. Their manner of floating in front of it, and not integrated or behind, is too intrusive.

This view, I know, is a modernist tenet, one that I happen to consider accurate. This show is far better than say, Esling’s display at Gus Fisher last year - that lack of ‘floating’ being a major reason.

So the content - head body parts such as bits of ear or skull, mixed with cogs, machines and planks of wood - imply Esling has theories about interiority, various subjective mental processes and emotions - and their connections to the conduits and ‘wiring’ of the senses. He seems interested in how the mind can continue even when cut or blocked off from incoming stimuli. His images (particularly those on the righthand wall in Roger’s space) suggest a sort of conceptual black box, an imagined saline floatation chamber, but without literally depicting it, or espousing any resulting hallucinatory after-effects.

One watercolour is in fact called Living inside your Head, and this explicit sense of isolation, almost a form of solipsism, is extended with some Flashe vinyl paintings (on wooden panels) of comets and shooting stars whizzing across the night sky. These works accentuate the smallness of a single life, its influence and its brief burst of existence: a life lived on a remote planet that (with both life and planet) flares like a match and is then extinguished.

This show is an odd combination of contemplative images about thinking processes, mixed with ruminations on corporeal existence. The way the two subject matters interact is surprising; the two types of painting work well together.

John Hurrell

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
Anna Rankin, hail to, 2017, (installation view) commissioned by Te Tuhi, Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett

Anna Rankin’s Billboards of Innovative Poetry

TE TUHI CENTRE FOR THE ARTS

Auckland

 

Anna Rankin
hail to

 

18 November 2017 - 25 February 2018

JH

A City Is Not a City if…..

JH

New Len Lye Anthology

The Long Dream of Waking: New Perspectives on Len Lye


Edited by Paul Brobbel, Wystan Curnow and Roger Horrocks

 

Canterbury University Press, 2017

JH

Carl Sydow Publication

Carl Sydow
Sydow: Tomorrow Never Knows

Text: Peter Vangioni

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, 2017