John Hurrell – 10 August, 2012
Hurley seems to be satirising pediatrics and pedology, ridiculing adult attempts to understand the minds and behavior of children. (They appear to be the focus of his attention - not toy replicas.) He seems particularly amused by the idea that children could be perceived as miniature adults.
Gavin Hurley / Peter Peryer / Emily Wolfe
8 August - 1 September 2012
Three very different sorts of artist are juxtaposed in this Melanie Roger group exhibition, with no linking intertwining theme, but instead showcasing their separate individual characteristics.
Gavin Hurley presents collages and small canvas paintings, the latter sometimes enlarged versions of the former which feature unusually textured light fabric taken off the outside of old book covers (or boards) - not dust jackets. Much of the imagery involves scientists examining the physical properties of a boy doll, documenting its body, testing its behavior, dismantling it and seeing if it has a brain.
Hurley seems to be satirising pediatrics and pedology, ridiculing adult attempts to understand the minds and behavior of children. (They appear to be the focus of his attention - not toy replicas.) He seems particularly amused by the idea that children could be perceived as miniature adults. One particularly droll painting is a portrait of a fresh faced boy wearing a curly-textured fake beard.
The three photographs from Peter Peryer show why he is so widely admired. Buddha’s Hand is the name of a type of citrus fruit found in China and Japan but Peryer’s black and white image of one makes it look like a hand suggested by an inverted and gnarled clump of roots or a misshapen pepper. The puffy and curled clawlike ‘fingers’ look deformed and arthritic - grotesque and sinister - making the image oddly disturbing and very memorable. One of his best ever.
Carcass looks like an image in the tradition of Soutine, Bacon and Rembrandt, but its red coloration looks odd, as if hand applied, and the stripes of the background awning seem slightly wonky. Here Peryer has used a small model - not a butcher’s shop - so its subtle incongruities are part of its appeal. Likewise the two concrete birds in Penguins that could almost be holding hands, if flippers could do such a thing - suggesting a tender ornithological romance.
Emily Wolfe’s realistic paintings of patterned shadows created by light passing through flapping muslin curtains I find anaemic and too dreamily slight. Romantically vague and inward with their faint dappled forms flickering on bedroom walls, her images are ethereal, insubstantial and transient, creating a different sort of contemplative mood than other related ‘painted light on objects’ artists like say, Jude Rae. In contrast the tonally more vigorous collaged and photographic images of Hurley and Peryer, though smaller, bring more visual and ideational drama to the Roger space.
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