John Hurrell – 30 March, 2013
In the small room there are ten works - and in the other, fifteen. These decorative paintings are deceptively intricate, with stained marks on the sides of the stretcher and around or between the almost butted cut canvas edges. The most mesmerising examples play with real depth, line or plane as foils for the illusory spatial properties of colour, with Perkins attempting to carve out his own research area - as opposed to being just another commonplace postmodern magpie.
8 March - 6 April 2013
The first thing you notice are the two rooms (one large, the other much smaller) with what seems at a quick glance to be a continuous back wall continuing through both. It is a clever installation by Oliver Perkins with there being two sizes of painting - both in the form of canvas stretcher - one almost half the size of the other and presented with the smaller works closer (to a viewer standing by the doorway) and the larger ones distant.
Modestly scaled and intimate, pitched individually perhaps for domestic settings, Perkins’works feature glued on offcuts or cut up drop-sheets - often combined with diluted ink that has been brushed on directly, and stapled-on canvas strips or lengths of coloured dowel. Some of the larger canvases have square forms inserted and fixed under the support, dramatically raising the material and making the projection taut. Stylistically these vertical rectangles seem to altogether elegantly salute Ellsworth Kelly and Julius Bissier, or in this country, Philip Trusttum and Don Driver.
In the small room there are ten works - and in the other, fifteen. As quite decorative paintings they are deceptively intricate, with stained marks on the sides of the stretcher and around or between the almost butted cut canvas edges. The most mesmerising examples (like 1:O.027.12, 1:O.024.12, and 1:P.026.12) play with real depth, line or plane as foils for the illusory spatial properties of colour, with Perkins attempting to carve out his own research area - as opposed to being just another commonplace postmodern magpie.
With these canvases, their scale makes them like pages or working studies from a folder, especially when lined up in a row. It fits in with their title as well, which suggests an undertaking akin to music or science. Certainly the sequencing of rectangles in the two rooms, the balanced nature of the positioned shapes, colour and texture within the two optically linked lines, suggests music.
Beyond this very successful installation one also wonders if Perkins might in the future be interested in producing more physically imposing variations that indisputably hold their own in isolation. This is the obvious question about this artist. Can he move beyond the domestic scale, art historical references and collective unit, and develop a new formal, more muscular and challenging visual language within painting? In an Auckland context he is not an obvious innovator with a ‘brand’ like say Wealleans, Cousins, Ingram or Shin, but maybe that will change.
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